A staggering number of Australians are overweight and many more people are in denial about their health, believing that they don’t need to make any lifestyle changes. Especially with the turn of the New Year, there is no time like the present to make some healthy lifestyle changes. So how do you know if your health is up to scratch? Here’s a look at some simple measurements to find out if your health needs more time and attention.
Body Max Index (BMI) - This measures your weight in relation to your height. You can find your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared or you can use our BMI calculator HERE. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 25. A BMI above this can mean an increased risk of weight-related diseases, like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If you need to lose weight you can start your weight loss by consulting with a healthcare professional. You can also find weight loss related products here.
Waist measurements - All your vital organs are housed in your waist area, so any extra weight makes it harder for them to work properly. According the Australian Government, a waist measurement of less than 94 centimetres for men and 80 centimetres for women is healthy. Anything higher than this could indicate an increased risk of developing a chronic weight-related disease like type 2 diabetes.
Biological age - An unhealthy lifestyle can leave your body thinking it’s a lot older than you actually are. Increasing numbers of young people in Australia are developing typically middle-aged diseases like type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which can be attributed to being overweight, doing little exercise and a poor diet.
Blood pressure - This indicates the pressure of blood against your artery walls. High blood pressure means they’re receiving too much pressure and can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The Heart Foundation generally considers a normal blood pressure to be less than 120/80mmHg. Your doctor can measure your blood pressure. Alternatively, you can measure your blood pressure at home using blood pressure monitors such as the Omron HEM 7211 Premium Blood Pressure Monitor and the Microlife Blood Pressure Monitor A100.
Heart rate - A good indication of your fitness level is measuring your resting heart rate. For most people, that should be 60-100 beats per minute. Elite athletes will have a lower resting rate. A resting heart rate higher than 100 means your body is working harder to do its job and has been associated with high blood pressure and heart disease. You can take your own heart rate by placing your index and third fingers gently against your neck and counting your pulse for 15 seconds, then multiply that number by four. A blood pressure monitor can also read your heart rate.
Cholesterol Levels - When most people talk about cholesterol they refer specifically to the bad LDL cholesterol and its ratio in comparison to Total cholesterol. Total cholesterol = LDL (Bad because it kills) + HDL (good because it protects) cholesterol. If you have too much bad cholesterol, it will circulate in the blood stream causing changes to the blood vessels increasing your risks of heart disease. If your cholesterol level is 6.5 mmol/L or greater your risk of heart disease is about four times greater than that of a person with a cholesterol level of 4 mmol/L. Not all people with high cholesterol levels get heart disease. Aim to keep your cholesterol levels below 5.5 mmol/L. These days you can check your cholesterol levels at home using a cholesterol monitor and strips such as the Accutrend Plus Cholesterol monitor.