BMI, Body Fat, Waist Circumferences Tells You if  Need to Lose Weight from a Medical Reason

Dr Richard Lipman MD–an endocrinologist uses multiple techniques to evaluate obesity.

Body Mass Index(BMI,) Body Fat measurements, waist circumferences measurements are among the tools you have to decide if  you really need to lose weight for medical reasons.

If you need to lose weight, the best weight loss plan is one that you don’t even know you’re on. It should be quick, easy, and something you can do forever. If you feel deprivation it is sure to fail. All traditional weight loss plans are the same, so you need to make a few changes based on your personal likes and dislikes. The whole goal is to lose weight and keep it off. On many occasions overweight individuals have a low metabolism. Take our Metabolism Quiz and see if you might have this problem.

Losing Weight For Cosmetic Reasons vs. Medical Reasons

When do you really need to lose weight? What are the best weight loss plans? It depends on whether it’s for cosmetic reasons or for your health. I tell my patients every day that they know what they should weigh. Usually it’s just about right. I rarely see a patient who wants to weigh so little they cannot accomplish the goal. You should weigh want you want. Just remember that losing weight takes effort, especially those last 5 to 10 lbs. So do it, and set your mind to realistic goals. Although outdated by more scientific measurements, ideal weights based on frame size serve as a guideline.

Women's Ideal Weight by Body Frame Size


It’s not only based on your weight and height, but on how much of the fat is around your abdomen and if you have any other metabolic problems. Fat around and inside the abdomen causes serious problems.

Obese or Overweight: The Differences

The first issue is the definition of obesity. I tell my patients that their best weight is the weight they feel comfortable with. It’s the weight they can maintain without feeling anxious or deprived. But, everyone wants a number. We need to be careful here because “ideal weight” based on fashion trends, celebrities’ physical appearance, or an idealistic body image rarely reflects healthy weight. Here are the three steps to tell you if you are at risk and what you can do to lose weight even without exercise.

1. Body Mass Index (BMI) – Used in the Miami Diet Plan to Show What Your Weight Should Be

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the ratio of body weight to height. It reflects the total fat as related to one’s height. A BMI between 25-29 indicates the patient is overweight, and 30 or more indicates obesity. If your BMI is over 25 (and you’re not a wall of muscle like a professional athlete), you need to lose weight to stay healthy. You can calculate your own BMI from our on-line calculator to see how  you rank.

BMI Chart

2. Body Fat Is Another Way to Measure Risk In Dr. Lipman’s Diet Plan

There are many ways to measure body fat. You can measure several areas of your body with skin calipers and enter them in a special calculator, measure waist circumference, weigh yourself under water (hydrostatic weighing), or get a DXA Scan (dual energy X-ray ). I use a Bio Electrical Method for patients who come to the office.

Methods to Measure Body Fat

3. Metabolic Reasons for Weight Loss: It’s All About the FAT Cells

Waist Circumference Relates Obesity to Significant Medical Problems
Women: more than 35″ | Men: more than 40″

This is the most definitive measurement to determine if your belly fat has produced obesity-related medical problems because it relates the extra weight to body function. Excess food is stored in every increasing fat cell around and inside the abdomen. It’s the fat cells inside of the belly that make new dangerous chemicals that go into the bloodstream. Engorged fat cells can even make more fat cells.

Clumped together, the fat cells just below the skin of the abdomen – surrounding all of the vital organs – are no larger than a bar of soap. However, they are the cause of all obesity-related medical problems. Since measuring the inner fat is difficult and expensive, researchers use the circumference of the waist as a good proxy. It correlates with the critical amount of inner fat responsible for the development of all of the complications related to obesity.

Waist Measurement Chart Women

Metabolic Syndrome and the Need to Lose Weight

Risk factors and heart disease:

You must consider the presence of risk factors related to heart disease when you are evaluating whether or not you need to lose weight. If you have three or more of the conditions listed below, you are at high risk for cardiac problems. Moreover, if you also have a high BMI or a large waist circumference, you are considered to have metabolic syndrome. Here is a March 2009 update on risk factors from the American Heart Association:

“Burn” the fat- reduce the problems:
The good news is that when one is losing weight, the fat deposited inside the abdomen is the first to be used and burned for fuel. However, the only way to start this process is by reducing the food intake or significantly increasing the amount of exercise (we are talking about daily hours of real working out in the gym) in order to create a calorie deficit. The decrease of just an inch or two in waist circumference corresponds to a relatively large reduction of fat in the abdomen, and consequently significantly reduces health complications caused by obesity. Of interest, if one were to try to remove the outer fat by liposuction there are not improvements in metabolic abnormalities, proving its the fat inside the abdomen that causes all of the problems.

Metabolic Syndrome = 3/5 risk factors + high BMI or high waist circumference:

About 15 years ago, scientists from medical schools at several universities began to notice an unusual group of health problems occurring together: hypertension, high cholesterol, high fat content in the blood, diabetes, and an unusual collection of fat around the waist (instead of being equally distributed over the body). Today, this cluster of medical problems is known as Metabolic Syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome

25% of Americans have Metabolic Syndrome:
More than 25 percent of the U.S,,… population has metabolic syndrome. Some researchers believe that if obesity continues to increase with no significant improvements, 80 to 90 percent of us will suffer from Metabolic Syndrome by the year 2030.

The First Sign of Metabolic Syndrome Can Be a Stroke or Heart Attack

Very few complications of Metabolic Syndrome can be detected before it becomes too late. The first is often a heart attack or a stroke. Other individuals will find out during a routine health evaluation that they have developed diabetes or hypertension. Metabolic Syndrome is caused by genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and too much food (calories in) with too little activity (calories used).