Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a means of accessing the nutritional status of an individual. this method uses the height and weight to determine whether an individual is well nourished or malnourished. the BMI is the weight of the individual in kilograms (Kg) divided by the square of the height in meters (m2).

To interpret your BMI, use the table below:

Your BMI Range Interpretation
Below 18.5 (< 18.5) Underweight
From 18.5 to 24.5 Normal
Greater than 24.5 (> 24.5) Overweight
Greater than 29.9 (> 29.9) Obese

You can use tris calculator below to measure your adult BMI function calcBMI() { var weight = document.getElementById(“weight”).value; var height = document.getElementById(“height”).value; var bmi = weight/(height*height); document.getElementById(“bmi”).innerHTML=”Your BMI = ” + bmi; return false; }

Weight in Kilograms
Height in Meters

Calculate

Please, enable JavaScript in your browser to use tris BMI Calculator

document.getElementById(“NoJS”).innerHTML=”Enter details and click on calculate”; You can also use a calculator found here

BMI however is not the most accurate metrod of measuring body fat but it is a fast metrod and gives a general impression. Factors like race, nationality, and occupation can affect the results. A slim athelete may record high BMI. tris however does not show trat he/she is fat. Muscles account for most of it.

Measuring BMI in children is just the same as for adults. However, there is a little catch: the result is compared to a list of typical values for children of the same age an sex using percentiles. Note that, BMI is used for children 2years and above

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Childhood Obesity

Hurray!! Thanks to cable TV, our children are getting real fat. Well, all the blame does not go only to the cable TV direction. A host of factors affect the Body mass index of a person: what you eat, physical activity, genetics, etc.

Fortunately, most of the factors that cause one to be overweight or obese are tweak-able at the level of mortals. Nowadays, people are so happy to be obese they nickname it “good living”. However, from where am standing, obesity is very far from good living.

Childhood obesity is on the rise, even in developing countries. Obesity is when you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of greater than 30. Some of its main risk factors (possible causes) are energy imbalance, genetics (it runs in the family), other health conditions, smoking, etc. Read more about Obesity here.

Food consumed is stored in the body (mostly as fat) when it is not expended. Through physical activity, we use up the food we eat. Nowadays, children live sedentary lifestyles with little exercise; they take the bus to and from school, they come home and eat a huge meal, they sit by the TV and watch the whole of the afternoon (even worse, they take junk food as the watch TV), Eat some more, go to bed. And we don’t expect them to get fat?

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Drinking water whiles eating

Nutritionists have different opinions as to whether it is ideal to drink water while eating. I for one stand for not drinking water.

There is no doubt that once a while, you may need to take a sip of water, say food chokes you, or the spices are too much, or maybe you just need to “encourage” that large bolus to go on its journey down. But in these cases, a sip is just enough.

Gastric acid in the stomach is diluted when water is taken with food. This may be irrelevant depending on the dilution factor (quantity of water). This is why I think a sip is allowed but not more. Some however argue that, acid of PH 1 will need loads of water to dilute it too much, however, you’re better safe than sorry.

Other enzymes in the digestive tract will also be diluted and their function reduced.

Making food soft and aiding digestion is what water does. I agree to this but only to an extent. Instead of preparing that rice so that it is barely soft. Prepare it to be soft, chew it very well, so it can digest better. Taking a gallon of water after an improperly cooked food can only make your stomach big. lol

Also, you feel satisfied when you drink water and this deprives you of nutrients you should get from food. It is better to eat to your satisfaction, then take water after some time.

Some people say they don’t get satisfied when they don’t take water before eating. Well, that may not be true, in that, those people may otherwise be eating too fast to realise they are satisfied before the food finishes. So my counsel, try eating slowly. It takes quite some time for you to know you’re satisfied.

Some people also experience acid reflux (heartburn). Drinking water after a meal may worsen the problem.

This post however does not intend to say water is bad to drink. Water is so so good but should be regulated immediately before or after meals.

What you should do

  • Cook the food as soft as can be but don’t overdo it
  • Chew solid food well before swallowing
  • Eat slowly
  • A sip of water is not bad
  • if you have problems with swallowing, take semi-solid foods
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Categorisation of food

Food can be grouped in a variety of ways. This helps when we need to identify food. It also helps when planning menus. Instead of the nutritionist or dietician telling you to take foods like banana, orange, watermelon, blah, blah blah, he simply tells you, “hey man, you need to take more fruits” – Now that’s simple.

BY SOURCE
Most food we eat from natural sources are either from plants or animals. You know those guys who restrict their food to plant sources but do not eat flesh? Those are the vegetarians. Most people however like to mix things up.

BY FUNCTION
Here, foods are grouped as Warmers (provide heat for the body), Energizers (Give energy – mostly carbohydrate based), Body builders (Protein based) and Body protectors (Mostly fruits and vegetables) and regulators.

BY NUTRIENT COMPOSITION
Now, this is the common method foods are categorised into.

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Lipids
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Water

Well, some do not consider water being here, unfortunately, I do.

BY GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Here in Ghana, we use the following categorisation of food

  • Cereals and grains
  • Starchy roots and plantain
  • Animals and animal products
  • Beans, nuts and oil seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fats and oils

However, somewhere else, say the USA, they will mostly consider things this way:

  • Milk and milk products
  • Meat and meat products
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Breads, cereals and grains

BY CULTURE

  • Cultural super foods – mostly staple foods
  • Body image foods – These foods are associated with physical appearance of the consumer, say food that make you slim when you eat it
  • Prestige foods – Associated with the rich, rarely eaten
  • Sympathetic magic food – these has supernatural powers (so thinks the believers). For example, here in Ghana, one tribe believes when you eat the head of a cat, you will not die outside you home.
  • Physiological group foods – Food belonging to this group are either restricted or encouraged for a person of a particular physiological group. For example, some people discourage consumption of egg by pregnant women because it will cause their children to become thieves when born.

This list is however not exhuastive as there may be other categorisations. Drop some below if they are not listed.

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What is Nutrition

Nutrition has come a long way. It used to be about looked at from a medical perspective: substances in food and how they prevent disease, restore health, or produce a desired change in response to environmental change. However, nutrition is not that limited. There are still people out there who live in centuries past and only look at nutrition from the medical perspective.

Nutrition as a science has not abandoned the medical aspect, it rather adds to it. It now integrated with varying disciplines including biology, biochemistry, physics, economics, microbiology, agriculture, anthropology, etc.

Even before you eat, you will need to acquire the food. This will also depend on many factors including the food available, the financial resources (if you will purchase), how near to the food source you are, how safe the food is, and so on.

DEFINITIONS

  • Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary (in the form of food) to support life. (Wikipedia)
  • Nutrition is the intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs. (WHO)
  • Nutrition is the science that deals with food intake and its utilisation by the body.
  • Nutrition is the science of nourishing the body.
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