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Weight Control

Focus on Weight Management: Summer Is Not Over, There's Still Time

Are You Overweight or Underweight?

The percentage of body fat can be determined by a registered dietitian or an exercise physiologist. Recommendations on body fat ranges follow:

    The average adult woman in the United States has approximately 22 to 25% body fat. A healthy amount is 20 to 21%. A ratio of 30% body fat is considered obese.

    Adult men in the United States average 17 to 19% body fat; 25% or higher is considered obese, and a desirable amount is 13 to 17%.

An easy way to determine your own desirable body weight is to use the following formula:

  • Women: 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height plus 5 pounds for each additional inch.

  • Men: 106 pounds of body weight for the first 5 feet of height plus 6 pounds for each additional inch.

  • For a small body frame, 10% should be subtracted; for a large frame, 10% should be added.

Calories for Weight Maintenance

To maintain one's weight, the following formula can be used:

  • 10 Calories per pound of desirable body weight if the person is sedentary or if they are very obese.

  • 13 Calories per pound of desirable body weight for low activity level, or after the age of 55 years.

  • 15 Calories per pound of desirable body weight for moderate activity.

  • 18 Calories per pound of desirable body weight for strenuous activity.

Activity levels:

  • Low activity: No planned, regular physical activity; occasional weekend or weekly activity is the only type of physical activity (like golf or recreational tennis).

  • Moderate activity: Participation in physical activity like swimming, jogging, or fast walking, 30 to 60 minutes each time.

  • Strenuous activity: Participation in vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes or more at least 4 to 5 days per week.

A Balanced Diet

  • Do not eat meat more than once a day. Fish and poultry are recommended above red or processed meats because they are less fattening.

  • Avoid frying food. Your food absorbs the fats from the cooking oils, increasing your dietary fat intake. It is recommended that you bake or broil food. If you do fry, use polyunsaturated oils such as corn oil.

  • Cut down on your salt intake, whether it be table salt, or flavors intensifiers that contain salt such as monosodium glutamate (MSG).

  • Including adequate fiber in your diet is very important. Fiber is found in green leafy vegetables, fruit, beans, bran flakes, nuts, root vegetables, and whole grain foods.

  • Do not eat more than 4 eggs per week. Although they are a good source of protein, and low in saturated fat, eggs are very high in cholesterol, and should be eaten in moderation for that reason.

  • Choose fresh fruit for deserts rather than cookies, cake, or pudding.

  • Too much of anything has its drawbacks, whether it be calories, or a particular type of food. A well balanced diet with creativity and variety are best suited to your needs.

  • Follow the recommendations of the food guide pyramid.

Source: MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

© 2004 Health Resources Publishing