More than 54 million Americans who are labeled overweight or obese according to their body mass index (BMI), a weight-to-height ratio, are actually healthy, says a new study in the International Journal of Obesity. Wondering where you stand? Check into these digits instead.
If your belly is home to excess fat, you may be at greater risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Wrap a tape measure around your middle just above your hip bones, at about your belly button. A healthy measurement for women is less than 35 inches.
Resting heart rate
Put two fingers over your pulse—at the wrist or neck—and count the number of beats in one minute. Between 60 and 100 beats is normal. A lower resting heart rate generally implies better physical health; a less active lifestyle can lead to a higher rate because the heart has to work harder.
Body fat percentage
Unlike BMI, this number reveals the amount of excess fat, separate from muscle mass. A healthy range for women is 20 to 32 percent. Get a bioelectrical impedance analysis at your health club; a machine sends electricity through your body to calculate the amount of fat versus lean tissue.
Basal metabolic rate
BMR factors in your height, weight, gender, activity level and age to approximate the number of calories you burn while at rest; you can also use it to estimate how many calories to cut from your diet each day to achieve your weight-loss goal.