BMI classifications were decided by The World Health organisation in 1995 who originally recommended three cut off points, 25, 30 and 40, based on anthropometric international data examining populations, weight and disease risk. These classifications have now been refined and are as follows:
- It is possible to be fit, well muscled and well built (yup - those ‘heavy bones’ we inherited!) and have a BMI of overweight, despite having a low level of body fat. In contrast a skinny, low muscled, unfit individual might have a normal BMI.
- There are some studies which actually show no greater risk of overall mortality for individuals who sit in the overweight category (BMI of 25-29.9) while being underweight is linked with being more dangerous for our health. This could possibly be for the reason above, while the underweight category will include people with underlying disease processes - such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer or infection, which can cause weight loss. Some researchers have highlighted that despite the conflicting evidence being overweight is still a risk to health because excess weight tends to progress and can also be hard to lose. Many overweight people can go on to become obese which is linked with definite health risks.
- One of the most important points to make about BMI is it that does not take into account fat composition and where fat is deposited in our bodies. Lean muscle weighs more than fat! Research shows that it is far more dangerous to store the fat around the middle, where it is known as ‘visceral fat‘ which is strongly linked with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Visceral fat is not more dangerous because it sits closer to our hearts (as many people seem to think!), but because abdominal fat is ‘metabolically active'. It produces chemical substances which trigger inflammatory processes, and these processes then damage our blood vessels and interfere with blood sugar regulation. Better measures to assess fat composition are hip to waist measurements and skin-folds tests. Ideally the waist circumference should not be more than 80cm for women and 94cm for men. The waist hip ratio is calculated by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement and should not be more than 1.0 for men and 0.8 for women.
splash of extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard (or a bit of whatever mustard you have around)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey or agave)
50ml (brown) rice vinegar
70ml cup mild flavored extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure toasted sesame oil (optional)
75g slivered almonds, toasted
2 large grated carrots