Standard weight charts put on pounds

November 13, 1990|By Gerri Kobren

For Dr. Reubin Andres, the new weight charts that accompany the revised "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" are a kind of vindication.

"Victory at last!" said Dr. Andres, clinical director of the National Institute of Aging. For years, Dr. Andres has been saying that while obesity is bad at any age, death rates are lower for older people who are "over" standard-chart weights.

The new "acceptable" weight chart says the same thing: For people past 35, the upper limits are extended by about 10 pounds, and the guidelines themselves warn against excessive leanness.

The new guidelines also warn that excess abdominal fat is more dangerous than extra inches below the belt. To put it another way, the hourglass figure or even the pear shape is better than the belly-bulging apple form.

You can get an idea of what kind of shape you're in just by looking in a mirror. For a more precise determination, measure your waist at about the level of your navel; measure your hips at their widest circumference. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement; the best answer is .80 or below for women, and .95 or below for men.

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