Body shape, not mass, accurately predicts risk of early death - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Body shape, not mass, may accurately predict risk of early death

Posted: Updated:
  • Melissa's HealthworksMore>>

  • How to reduce those food allergies

    How to reduce those food allergies

    Monday, July 14 2014 4:28 PM EDT2014-07-14 20:28:55 GMT
    Ask the DoctorAsk the Doctor
    The number of allergies is skyrocketing. Some reports show as many as one-in-five Americans is allergic to something, including different types of food. The important question is: Is there anyway to reduce this obnoxious and potentially life-changing problem?
    The number of allergies is skyrocketing. Some reports show as many as one-in-five Americans is allergic to something, including different types of food. The important question is: Is there anyway to reduce this obnoxious and potentially life-changing problem?
  • A surprising health boost

    A surprising health boost

    Monday, July 14 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-07-14 18:56:08 GMT
    Doctors often say your "gut" is the gateway to health. If it's healthy, chances are you are healthy. That's why it's important to know about a condition called "leaky gut" that can cause all kinds of issues.
    Doctors often say your "gut" is the gateway to health. If it's healthy, chances are you are healthy. That's why it's important to know about a condition called "leaky gut" that can cause all kinds of issues.
  • Eating fish can help prevent a stroke

    Eating fish can help prevent a stroke

    Monday, July 7 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-07 19:00:50 GMT
    Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of adult disability, but doctors want you to know that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented! Cardiologist Dr. John Higgins, from U.T. Memorial Hermann and Harris Health, shares some ways to prevent this top killer.
    Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of adult disability, but doctors want you to know that 80 percent of strokes can be prevented! Cardiologist Dr. John Higgins, from U.T. Memorial Hermann and Harris Health, shares some ways to prevent this top killer.
KATY, Texas -

At 28-years-old, Leah Goldstein, a former college athlete and current owner of CrossFit Katy is in top form.

On top of her five weekly workouts to prepare for CrossFit competitions, Goldstein is a full-time trainer, coaching an average of 22 classes a week.

She's also a nurse and works as a nutritionist at Specialty Healthcare and Wellness in Bellaire.

"I spend my time over there teaching people about nutrition and fitness to some extent but really, we do a lot of wellness," she said.

Goldstein stands just under 5-feet 8-inches tall and weighs in at 163 pounds, which puts her body mass index, or BMI, at 25.1.

"Which is considered overweight," she laughed.

Let's back up a bit.

BMI is a measure of "body fat" based on height and weight. The internet has made it easy to calculate. Simply type in your numbers, and you'll get your BMI- which doctors use to predict weight related health risks.

So how does someone as fit as Goldstein end up with a high BMI?

"For someone like me, well, I weigh a lot because I have a lot of muscle mass," she said. "And muscle mass weighs a lot."

Dr. Tony Primomo is a bariatric surgeon at The Davis Clinic at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital.

"That's one of the failings of BMI," Dr. Primomo said. " It's not really looking at the fat distribution. It's not really taking into account what is the distribution of muscles."

That is why researchers developed a new formula, called A Body Shape Index or ABSI, which predicts a patient's risk of early death.

"The big difference is this is actually looking at the waist circumference of a patient and how fat cells are distributed through out the body," Dr. Primomo said.

Human bodies, especially those belonging to females, have been described as "apple" or "pear" shaped. "Apples" store fat around their stomach. "Pears" store it around their hips and thighs. The terms aren't just about vanity. They actually do help doctors pinpoint potential problems.

"What they're seeing is that if someone has an "apple" shape, (and) holds most of their fat on their abdomen, that's actually worse for them as a predictor of possibly having a heart attack or stroke or developing diabetes down the line," Dr. Primomo said.

According to Dr. Primomo, most men fall into the "apple" category. Goldstein's body shape doesn't really fit into either category, despite her high BMI. Taking her waistline into consideration, Goldstein's ABSI score shows a below average mortality rate. In simple terms: she's healthier than most people.

"I think BMI is an older, almost outdated type of health measure," she said.

"BMI has been extremely well established in looking at these types of things," Dr. Primomo said. "ABSI is newer and is going to have to be validated over these next few years."

On the Web:

A Body Shape Index (ABSI) Calculator -- http://absi-calc.appspot.com/

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute BMI guide -- http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

Specialty Healthcare and Wellness -- http://www.specialtyhealth-wellness.com/

CrossFit Katy -- http://crossfitkaty.com/crossfit_katy/what-is-crossfit.html

The Davis Clinic -- http://www.thedavisclinic.com/

Powered by WorldNow

KRIV FOX 26
4261 Southwest Freeway
Houston, TX 77027

Phone: (713) 479-2801
Fax: (713) 479-2859

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices