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     Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most accurate ways to determine when  extra pounds translate into health risks. BMI is a measure which takes into account a personís weight and height to gauge total body fat in adults. Someone with a  BMI of 26 to 27 is about 20 percent overweight, which is generally believed to carry moderate health risks. A BMI of 30 and higher is considered obese. The higher the BMI, the greater the risk of developing additional health problems.

Heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are all linked to being over- weight. A BMI of 30 and over increases the risk of death from any cause by  50 to 150 percent, according to some estimates. According to health experts, people who are overweight but have no other health risk factors (such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure) should eat healthier and exercise to keep from gaining additional weight. For people who are overweight and also have  health risks, they recommend trying to actively lose weight. Be sure to consult  your doctor or other health professional before beginning any exercise or weight- loss program.

In June 1998, the federal government announced guidelines which create a
  new definition of a healthy weight -- a BMI of 24 or less. So now a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. Individuals who fall into the BMI range of 25  to 34.9, and have a waist size of over 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women,  are considered to be at especially high risk for health problems.




 Exceptions to a high BMI score include competitive athletes and body builders, whose BMI is high due to increased muscle mass, and women who are pregnant or lactating.
Underweight Below 18.5
Normal 18.5 - 24.9
Overweight 25.0 - 29.9
Obesity 30.0 and Above

Both Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference (WC) can be useful measures of determining obesity and increased risk for various diseases. According to the National Institutes of Health, a high WC is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension and cardiovascular disease when BMI is between 25 and 34.9. (A BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight and a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese.) WC can be useful for those people categorized as normal or overweight
 in terms of BMI. (For example, an athlete with increased muscle mass may have a BMI greater than 25 - making him or her overweight on the BMI scale - but a WC measurement would most likely indicate that he or she is, in fact, not overweight). Changes in WC over time can indicated an increase or decrease in abdominal fat. Increased abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of
heart disease.

To determine your WC, locate the upper hip bone and place a measuring tape around the abdomen (ensuring that the tape measure is horizontal). The tape measure should be snug but should not cause compressions on the skin. The following chart should be helpful in determining the possible risks associated with your BMI and WC.

Classification of Overweight and Obesity by BMI, Waist Circumference,
and Associated Disease Risks

Disease Risk* Relative to Normal Weight and Waist Circumference

Men 102 cm (40 in) or less
Women 88 cm (35 in) or less
Men > 102 cm (40 in)
Women > 88 cm (35 in)
< 18.5

18.5 - 24.9

25.0 - 29.9

30.0 - 34.9
Very High

35.0 - 39.9
Very High
Very High
Extreme Obesity
40.0 +
Extremely High
Extremely High

*     Disease risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and CVD.
+     Increased waist circumference can also be a marker for increased risk even in persons of
normal weight.
SOURCE: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute


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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If under medical care, or if pregnant or nursing, please consult a health professional.