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To be healthy, or not to be, that is the question

A few weeks ago I was pushed into having a Health Risk Assessment performed on me. At SRC (where I work, to those of you who haven't been paying attention) we take health very seriously. There have been many studies done and all of them have come to roughly the same conclusion: Businesses should encourage their workforce to create and maintain healthy living habits because healthier employees are less of a financial risk. A company takes a measured risk when they hire someone. They invest time, energy, money, equipment, and many other investments in order to have someone come in and perform a function. The initial investment is the largest when the recently hired employee is still learning the ropes. The employee's output is low and training takes up another employee's time which takes away from their output. In time, there becomes a standard cost for that employee which includes the utilities they require to do their job (water, electricity, etc), their salary, their expected overtime, bonuses or profit sharing if applicable, and the amount that the company kicks in for the employee's insurance.

The investment goes far beyond just the paycheck. So when an employee works for a long period of time and knows all of the ins and outs of the business and can perform multiple functions with a high rate of efficiency that employee is one to hold on to. What if the employee dies of a heart attack, though? Oops. The company just lost that huge investment and great asset. Now they have to do it all over again. Let's tone down the severity a little bit and ask what if the employee gets sick for a day? Then the company doesn't have that asset for a day. This all adds up and it's been found in these studies that healthy people tend to miss less work than their less healthy coworkers. Therefore making the healthier employees a greater asset.

SRC has bought into this line of thinking and established a Health Committee long ago. We have a nice workout room, an outdoor running track, and an on-staff nurse and health technician. They are constantly having walks for various causes, free classes teaching healthy habits, and even competitions. There is always an incentive. For every event that you join in you acquire 1 or 2 health points depending on the event. At the end of the year they throw your name in a hat for every point that you've acquired and you can win things like a home gym, iPods, LCD TVs, gift cards, etc.

Well, all the points you acquired for the year are void if you don't do the Health Risk Assessment. So, they signed me up. They took my blood and my measurements and my height and weight and then let me get back to work. Well, this week I got back the results. I'm not happy with them. Hence the blog. I write blogs bragging about many things, but I wouldn't go around bragging about my health. That just seems like an inevitable random lightning strike victim waiting to happen.

I think I'll start with my good results and then slowly rise to anger with the others. I have a healthy amount of the good cholesterol, total cholesterol, cholesterol ratio, triglycerides, and blood sugar. My heart rate of 78 and blood pressure at 116/68 were "very good" according to the woman who took them. Now comes the bad news: my BMI (Body Mass Index) is 29.48. And according to their little decoder ring that puts me in the overweight category just under obesity. What!? That's right. I'm one Krispy Kreme away from being obese according to their scale. So let's look at their scale, shall we? BMI is a measure used to determine obesity. BMI is simply weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. First of all, the use of the metric system tells me that this measurement was created by someone outside the U.S. and probably set the category limitations with Americans in mind thinking that we're all overprivileged fat and lazy Big Mac munchers. Second, the only factors that play a role in determining this number is height and weight. But, that can't be accurate. There are plenty of people I know who are my same height and weight, but don't have the build. Some are all muscle, some are seriously lacking muscle, but according to this measurement they are all overweight and almost obese. What a joke.

But, what about definitions? We all think that we know what words mean, but for the sake of argument let's look them up. The Free Dictionary defines obese as "extremely fat, grossly overweight". Wesbter's is significantly nicer about it with their definition "having excessive body fat". Or maybe they're not being nice since that includes EVERYBODY. Excessive is defined as "more than what is necessary." Everyone has more body fat than what is necessary unless they're anorexic or something. Fat is defined as "notable for having an unusual amount of body fat."

So, to wrap up the differing definitions let me conclude the following. Webster's calls you obese if you have more body fat than what is necessary for your body to properly function. The Free Dictionary calls only those who are extremely notable for having unusual amounts of body fat and who are way beyond even being overweight obese. So, did this help you to decide who to look for the meaning of words from? It did for me.

In case this post has made you curious about what your own BMI is, I've kindly inserted the following link to a BMI Calculator so that you, too, can feel good about yourself. Use with caution, you may not like the results. In case you are reading this and don't have a way to check the link, then here is the formula: Multiply your weight in pounds by 703 and then divide that number by your height in inches squared. Then the cutoffs are listed in the chart.


Oops, guess we shouldn't have gone to Krispy Kreme today huh??

Ha ha ha haaaaaa!! So true!! What the??? You?....obese??


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