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Getting A Grip On Body Composition-----By Len Kravitz, Ph.D. And Vivian H. Heyward, Ph.D.

Health practitioners universally agree that too much body fat is a serious health risk. Problems such as hypertension, elevated blood lipids (fats and cholesterol), diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, respiratory dysfunction, gall bladder disease, and some joint diseases are all related to obesity. Also, some research suggests that excessive accumulation of fat at specific body sites may be an important health risk factor (Wilmore, Buskirk, DiGirolamo, & Lohman, 1986). For instance, it appears that extra fat around the abdomen and waist is associated with higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and hyperlipidemia. Individuals who accumulate a lot of fat around the waist (apple-shaped) are worse off than those who tend to accumulate fat in the thighs and buttocks (pear-shaped). The apple-shaped pattern of fat deposition is more commonly seen in men; whereas women tend to be pear-shaped.

Now, more than ever before, people are preoccupied with how much they weigh. New clients walk into our classes on a daily basis hoping that exercise will be the panacea. In an effort to lose weight and excess fat, Americans spent in 1989 an excess of 30 billion dollars for 54 million diet books and for services and products at 1500 weight control clinics (McArdle, Katch, & Katch, 1991). Yet, efforts such as these to achieve thinness are often based on popular misconceptions about body weight and body composition. Being thin does not necessarily reduce one's health risk. In fact, obsession with becoming thin often leads to serious eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Thinness simply refers to weighing less than the recommended values in age-height-weight tables. Leanness, on the other hand, refers to the muscle, bone, and fat composition of your body weight. Although some lean individuals may actually weigh more than their "tabled" ideal body weight, low body fat lessens the risk of health problems.

 

Tongfang Health Technology (Beijing) Co.,Ltd