The ideal weight does not exist according to the experts

We can not help but wonder if it really is so important to adjust to that ideal for our health, if there is a certain and mandatory number with which we have to fulfill yes or yes (or also) and, above all, if the professionals we have consulted consider We are talking about the best criteria to measure our health.

The Ideal Weight is not a concept of now or an invention of the press to sell more magazines. It was the insurance company Metropolitan Life Insurance Company that developed the first ideal weight tables in 1943. A way to calculate the quotas of the insured future, associating greater weight to a greater risk of mortality. Come on, that the Ideal Weight at its birth had a purely economic objective.

The Ideal Weight tables are not ideal

Forty years later in The Journal of The American Medical Association this concept was questioned, in the article entitled Methodological criticism of the concept of ideal weight and with other articles by the physiologist Ancel Keysthat doubted the scientific validity of the ideal weight tables. And yet, the concept has reached our days and many of us continue to ask ourselves daily why, why, why we can not weigh that little number that appears in the tables no matter how much we take care of ourselves.

Is there really the Ideal Weight?

Lucia Martinez, dietitian-nutritionist and blogger in Tell me what you eat is very clear: “the definition of” ideal weight “as a figure, or a fixed fork between” so many “and” many “kilos, does not make much sense”.

In his opinion “in addition to the sex and size of the person, age, hormonal status and body composition influence that figure.”

For Juan Revenga, dietitian, nutritionist and driver of The Nutritionist of the General , the ideal weight does not exist as there is no ideal eye color, or ideal hair: “the concept of ideal weight is not reliable,” he explains, ” because all the times two variables are taken into account, it is based on gender and height, and sometimes a third variable is considered, if the person is of a thin, normal or corpulent constitution or constitution. always ends by saying that people, say, men of 1.75 of medium build have to think, I do not know, 63 or 66 kilos, and that means unnecessary pressure about citizens, more than anything because we have associated physical characteristics or aspects related to weight. That is to say, we attribute to the variable weight an importance, independently of how it is distributed, of which are the components that contribute to reach that weight, etc. The weight per se, which tells us a scale, is already a strong element of pressure on society, especially in the female gender. ”

In his opinion, the degree of concern that many women have precisely with the subject of ideal weight is pathological and sickly: “but they are not to blame , because they were born in this paradigm, in these circumstances in which the subject of weight He has been idolized, he has risen to a position of absolute excellence, of reaching that particular weight, whatever it may be, which can be obtained in a more or less serious way or through influences as varied as the neighbor of the fifth, the charcuterie, or through the comment that anyone can make on the street, or someone who supposedly loves you … ”

Juan Revenga tells us that what we should never take is an absolute figure as valid, but based on these arch-named tables, it can be said that a person is in normal weight if he weighs 10% above or 10% below the figure that appears for your gender, size and complexion. “If we wanted to have a more valid reference, but not definitive either, we should apply the percentage of distance with respect to the Ideal Weight and consider that the +/- 10% of that figure that they have given us in tables could be considered as an adequate weight, not ideal weight. ”

How to calculate your BMI or normal weight: another option

Juan Revenga explains it this way: “Normal weight is the definition that includes people who have a BMI between 18.5 and 25, a body mass index”. But he clarifies that he always prefers to speak of adequate weight or valid weight : “not optimal, in none of the cases”.

To calculate your “Body Mass Index” (BMI) we have to divide the kilos we weigh by our height expressed in meters and squared. It is considered that we are in normal weight if the result ranges between 18.5 kg / m2 and 24.9 kg / m2.

In this fork there can be differences of up to eighteen kilos and it is considered that the person is within their normal weight. And even if we are overweight, with a BMI equal to or greater than 25, or obesity, greater than 30, we must take into account that people with excess weight who exercise or take care of themselves regularly may have a lower risk of cancer or diseases that people who do not but with normal weight.

So what is the best indicator to follow?

For Lucia Martinez as a measure of health, body composition is much more reliable than weight: “that is, what percentage of our body is fat, muscle mass, water, etc. We can have a weight that is qualified as” healthy “according to parameters as the BMI, and yet that our percentage of fat is above the advisable and we have a poor muscle mass and low bone density, or on the contrary, present a weight that the BMI marks as excessive and yet have a body composition Excellent.”

Juan Revenga tells us that the indicator to follow is a sum of parameters and makes us a comparison with a racing car: “if you want to know if you have options to compete you can not fix the color of the car, you can not fix it the wheels, you can not fix on the engine, on the fuel, on the chassis, … You have to look at the whole,in our case the same thing happens, that is, there are a series of sanitary variables that make a forecast of health A reading is obtained in which analytical variables, anthropometric variables, also of lifestyle are measured We can not look at a single variable We would like it, it would be great, we have an easy label, a hashtag easy. We love having conclusive results of complex issues through a minimum and rapid analysis. ”

In this set the weight is one of the variables, but not the only one. We must also take into account the body composition, as Juan Revenga tells us, and beyond what distribution has that weight in the body composition, for example. “Or how much of the kilos is fat and how much is not fat, where that fat is located, because it is not the same if it is concentrated in some anatomical zones or in others and contrast other factors such as analytical values, to give just a few examples, cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammatory factors, etc. ” That is, it is not simple. You have to put yourself in the hands of a professional to do a full job about it.

Ancel Keys already declared in 1986 something that is still valid today : the goal that we lose weight to reach that point of ideal weight is the engine of a big business, the cosmetics, the pharmaceuticals of the institutes of beauty, that of plastic surgery, that of alternative therapies, etcetera and etcetera. That is, we return again to the starting point, the economic interest that caused those first ideal weight tables to emerge.

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