Body fat is often expressed as our “Body Fat Percentage” or “Body Fat Percent.” Body fat percentage is the amount of body-fat-tissue as a percentage of total body weight. If your total body weight is 200 pounds and you have 40 pounds of fat, your body fat percentage is 20 percent
Methods similar to those used to diagnose overly fat clients can be used to diagnose clients with reduced body mass. A person whose weight is more than 15% below a reasonable body weight (RBW) may be classified as underweight. A man with a body fat content less that 15% and a woman with a body fat content less than 18% may be classified as having a reduced body mass. A BMI less than 20% may indicate that the client has a reduced body mass.
Consequences of being underweight
Long-term follow-up of studies indicates that excessive leanness is associated with increased mortality and decreased life expectancy. However, the causes of mortality are different from those associated with excess weight. An excessively lean person is almost twice as likely to succumb to respiratory disease such as tuberculosis. In addition, these clients have greater difficulty maintaining body temperature during cold weather. Infections and disturbances of the gastrointestinal tract are more likely in an underweight person, as is fragile bone structure and osteoporotic changes.
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We know it takes more kilocalories to support body protein content than body fat pecentage. Health-care worker should first encourage patients to exercise more to increase their body protein content. Many experts believe that our society’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle may be responsible for the increasing prevalence of obesity.
Second, eating fat is fattening. Here are some reasons to avoid dietary fat:
- Teaspoon for teaspoon, fat contain more kilocalories that either carbohydrate or protein.
- There is very little energy cost to convert fat in food to body fat. Carbohydrates in food must be converted to fat before carbohydrate can be stored in fat cells. This conversion requires an expenditure of kilocalories. Kilocalories used to convert carbohydrate in food to body fat are not stored as body fat.
- Once a fat cell has been manufactured, there is no evidence that it can ever be broken down; it exists until death. When dieting, a person can reduce the amount of fat in each fat cell but not break down the cell completely. Some researches believe that an empty fat cell sends a message to the reduced-obese person’s brain to eat. The reduce-obese/over weight person must learn to cope with a message constantly coming from the brain to eat. This is another reason why it is very difficult for a client to keep weight off permanently. Prevention if weight gain is the easiest way to maintain a reasonable body weight.
Third, a low-fiber intake may predispose a client to obesity. Fiber has a high satiety value. Obesity is uncommon amount the populations of countries where a high proportion of dietary kilocalories are consumed as starchy vegetables. Educating clients to eat at least the recommended six servings of starch (preferably whole gain) and five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables may help clients achieve satiety. Many starches, fruits, and vegetables contain appreciable amounts of fiber.
There is some evidence that fiber consumption may predict weight gain more strongly than total or saturated fat consumption (Ludwig et al, 1999).
Adherence to a low-fat and low fiber diet will not always result in a permanent weight loss. An individual can still gain weight on a low-fat diet if he or she overeats foods high in carbohydrates (especially sugary drinks). Portion control is important. For some people, that most valuable information on the food label is the serving size.
To summarize, the health-care worker can educate clients to (1) exercise more, (2) eat less fat, (3) eat more fiber, (4) use portion control, and (5) Avoid sweetened soda.
Why you are underweight?
A person may be underweight because of genetic factors or because of a long-term or recent weight loss. As part of the nutrition screening process, the health care worker should ask the client about any change in body weight. A good question is, “Have you experienced any undesired weight loss?” If the client responds yes, it is important to determine the time frame of the weight loss. However, a responsible such as “I have always been lean” indicates a life-time pattern and may reveal that the client‘s leanness is genetic. A response of, “No, I intentionally lost weight” may reveal an anorexic client.
Rapid Fat Loss Increases Risk
The greater the rat of body fat or weight loss, the more that client is at nutritional risk. Rate means loss per unit of time. For example, a 20-pound weight loss in 2 weeks is an excessive weight loss. Such a client has lost a large amount of lean body mass. However, a 20- pound weight loss during a 20 week period could be attributed mostly to a loss of body fat with a minimal loss of lean body mass. If the client began with surplus body fat stores, a los of 20 pounds may not place this client at a high nutritional risk. If the client had a reduced body mass, even a slow weight loss may place him or her at a nutritional risk.
Not all changes in body weight are caused by insufficient kilocalories intake. For example, a client may lose several pounds of body weight over the course of a single day as a result of diuretic therapy. The weight loss in this instance would be due to water loss and not to body fat or protein loss.
One method to determine whether a client is eating enough food is to monitor his or her food intake. Kilocalorie and calculating the kilocalories eaten.
This can be done using several software programs, such as Food Processor or Diet Analysis.(Carroll Lutz & Karen Przytulski; Nutrition and diet therapy; evidence based applications; 4th edition; 389-390)
To calculate your body fat percentage, use our body fat calculator
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