A general way to check to see if you are overweight or obese to look at your BMI or Body Mass Index. Your BMI is calculated by multiplying your weight in pounds by 700, dividing the results by your height in inches, and then dividing that result by your height in inches a second time. There are many websites out there that will do this math for you, one being the National Heart Lung and Blood Association. Just click the link and type in the information. After clicking submit, check to see where your BMI falls on the chart to the right. A BMI between 25-29.9 is considered overweight while a BMI over 30 is considered obese. While this system is helpful as a general overview to check your weight, it should be noted that other factors are not calculated into the equation. An example would be a very muscular body builder (who may have a higher weight due to muscular build).
A better way to evaluate your body fat is by having someone measure you with body fat calipers. Usually personal trainers or nutritionist will have these on hand. Using these calipers they can evaluate your percentage of body fat and tell you whether or not you should try to lose weight. Usually 25% body fat or less for women and 17% body fat or less for men is considered average.
While Americans may be over fed, they are still undernourished. This means that it is even more important for people to start thinking about exactly what they are fueling their bodies with. A general rule to follow is to make sure you 'eat the rainbow' when selecting foods to eat. Most of the foods that are fattening are brown. Think about it: bread, rice, anything fried... it's all brown. Instead of waffles or cereal in the morning choose a bowl of fruit or veggie omelet; instead of a sandwich for lunch try a homemade soup; for dinner, instead of chicken and potatoes, make a stir fry with veggies and lean meat. Making small changes like this can have a great impact on your overall health, giving you more energy and reducing your risk for many of the preventable disease listed above. There are hundreds of websites and blogs on the internet with ideas for healthy meals. If you want to submit a favorite recipe, feel free to comment below.