When we check ourselves out in the mirror, the first thing we usually look for is if we've gained any weight. Interestingly, research has shown that men tend to suck in their bellies and underestimate their weight, whereas women seem to be overly self-conscious.
A 2013 study by British newspaper The Guardian found men are twice as likely to underestimate their weight as women, while 27% of women thought they weighed more than they really did.
Overestimating your weight is dangerous as it may lead to an unbalanced diet and a lack of nutrition intake. But underestimating it has health implications too – being overweight makes you more susceptible to health risks, including heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. To avoid misunderstanding where you stand, here are a few scientific-based measurements that will give you a better reading of your health than pinching your muffin top.
For more than 40 years, health experts have used the Body Mass Index (BMI) to assess weight levels. BMI is the measure of a person's weight in relation to their height.
Although BMI doesn't take into account excess fat, muscle or bone mass, lifestyle or genetic factors, it's the most convenient and widely used method by medical practitioners. It's a simple and effective tool for quickly assessing weight classification that applies to men, women and children.
Click here to use our BMI calculator and find out where you are.
BMI Categories for Asia
18.5 – 22.9 Normal
23 – 27.4 Overweight
The Waist Circumference Measurement method
One area that many women struggle with is belly fat. The Waist Circumference Measurement method is a way of accurately gauging your waistline. This is particularly important for people of Asian backgrounds, as they tend to have a higher proportion of body fat to muscle when compared to Caucasians. They also tend to carry this weight around the middle.
How to measure?
For men, your health is at high risk if you have a waist size of over 90cm. For women, your health is at high risk if you have a waist size of over 80cm.
Measure your cholesterol and blood sugar levels
Dr Koh Hau-Tek, Medical Director of Shenton Medical Group, believes that while there are many healthy body measurements out there, the best course of action is via a doctor. "Through tests, the doctor will be able to give you an accurate measurement of your cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, etc. These are more objective results of obesity and are therefore more indicative of your current state of health."
Whatever your body type, weight management is important.