Traditional indicators of obesity such as body mass index (BMI) may not be giving a clear indication of health. Thin people are also vulnerable to storing harmful fat deposits internally – Dr. Alaa Takidin, Dietitian/Nutritionist at Canadian Specialist Hospital, Deira, Dubai.
Thin-looking people may be just as susceptible to heart disease and diabetes as the obese. A skinny fat person is one that has too less muscular mass compared to fat mass in their body.
BMI, or Quetelet index, is a value defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body height in units of kg/m2, with scores under 18 commonly viewed as underweight, and those over 25 over weight.
However, the rating does not consider overall build and muscle mass. Finding specific patterns of fat distribution in patients is a more effective way of managing metabolic conditions. Specific fat distribution patterns can indicate heart disease and diabetes.
Experts at the Canadian Specialist Hospital in Dubai said multiple measures should be taken to make an accurate assessment of a patient’s risk level to metabolic disease.
“We have come across patients with different weights, gender, age and percentage body fat having the same BMI. There are so many other indicators that should be used in conjunction with a BMI reading to have a complete picture of a body composition and risk of metabolic disease.”
We asses a patient by gathering information about their past medical history, family history, three-day dietary recall, smoking and alcohol intake and their level of physical activity.
They also look at anthropometric measures such as skin fold tests, water intake and the patient’s highest and lowest weight for the past five years. Body fat percentage, muscle mass, total calorie intake and water mass are also assessed to evaluate patient health.
“Visceral fat or internal fat is a specific type of fat that is found on the stomach, with high visceral fat dangerous and correlated with cholesterol, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other health conditions,” said Ms Takidin.