You May Be Overweight or Even Obese
What is BMI?
BMI (Body Mass Index) is an estimate of body fat based on your weight relative to your height. It has been believed that if your BMI is below 25, you have a normal weight with a normal body fat of 22 to 28 percent. If your BMI is between 25 and 30, your body fat is 28 to 35 percent, which is associated with a modest increase in mortality. When your BMI is 30 or more, your body fat is 35 to 50 percent and is associated with death rates of 50 to 100 percent higher than people with a BMI of 25 to 30.
DXA, the gold standard measure
Here at PRO Club, we believe that BMI is a poor way to measure body fat. Instead, at our Performance Center, we have the gold standard for fat and muscle measurement with two DXA scanners. DXA not only measures body fat and muscle, but also measures bone density to rule out early to late osteoporosis.
Aging and the role of hormones
As men and women age, usually starting around age 35-40, several hormones slowly begin to drop which, I believe, turns on the aging genes. These genes and their associated hormones cause sarcopenia (loss of muscle that’s replaced with fat), slow loss of bone mass, graying hair, wrinkles, fatigue, joint discomfort, and so much more.
This aging process is worse in women when they enter menopause. During the years prior, during, and after menopause, women increase their percentage of body fat, even though their weight remains the same. Unfortunately, most of this increased fat is visceral fat (which is stored in the abdomen). Visceral fat is linked to metabolic dysfunction, including high cholesterol, hypertension, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and insulin resistance. All of these lead to heart disease, stroke, 50 percent of cancers, and other diseases. Post-menopausal women with BMIs of 22-29 were found to have body fat of 35 to 40 percent, categorizing them as obese and prone to metabolic disorders.
Men also accumulate more visceral fat as they age due to declining hormones around age 35 to 40, which also turns on their aging genes. While women quadruple their visceral fat, men only double their visceral fat.
How can you tell if you are gaining visceral fat? First, measure your waist and compare it to your waist size when you were 20 years old. If it’s over 35 inches (women) or 40 inches (men), you’re probably obese. You can confirm this by getting a DXA test in the PRO Club Performance Lab ($125 for members and $150 for non-members). Make sure to also ask for a bone density test for osteoporosis.
Take charge of your health
So, how can you stop or reverse this process of sarcopenia, increased visceral fat, bone loss, and the turning on of your aging genes?
Starting in your late 20s, make strength and aerobic exercise a part of your life. This will stop sarcopenia and bone loss. If you are older and haven’t exercised, begin an exercise program to reverse some of the sarcopenia and correct bone density. Hire a PRO personal trainer to create the right program for you so you don’t get injured. As you approach 40 years old, begin an age management program that will maintain your hormones at the same levels as a 30 year old.
I’ve been researching age management for over 40 years as part of our research in the 20/20 LifeStyles program. At PRO Medical, we have two of the country’s best age management physicians: Dr. Joe Upton and Dr. Mark Fishman. My wife and I have been on the age management program since we were 40 years old. I’m now 80 and my wife is … well, you’ll just have to ask her yourself.
No matter how old you are, you can begin an age management program that will return your hormones to what they were when you were 30 to 40 years old.
Manage How You Age
PRO Club’s Age Management program is the best in the country. It includes studies of your genetics, comprehensive blood chemistries, nine different hormones, biomarkers, sleep quality, steps, and exercise quality. We also perform a complete Performance Lab testing including VO2 Max, Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), strength, sit and reach test, submaximal treadmill tests, and DXA for fat, muscle and bone density. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with a PRO Registered Dietitian to create a personalized diet, which will be based on your genetics and other testing. You’ll also meet with a PRO personal trainer and receive four personal training sessions to set up an exercise program, again based on your genetics and other tests. Then, every three to four months, you’ll repeat your testing and make the necessary adjustments in hormones, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.
For more information, contact our Age Management Center at (425) 861-6290 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by By Dr. Mark Dedomenico
20/20 LifeStyles Founder & CEO