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I read an article this week about people who are "skinny obese". That is to say, they are classified as thin/normal weight for their frame and height ... but their percentage of body fat puts them into the obese category.

I bought a body fat and hydration scale a few months back and it seems to work perfectly for all of my other family members. We are all fairly small framed (my daughter is 12 and weighs 88 pounds at 5.2 and my husband is almost 6 feet tall and weighs about 145.) Everyone has a fat percentage in the "healthy" range -- 18% or so. But mine is like 30%! At 5'5" I weight just under 120. So I thought the scale just must not be right for me. But then when I read this article ... I got to thinking. What if its true? What if I am one of those "skinny obese" people? I wonder if that has anything to do with blood volume or other POTS triggers.

Anyone else seem to have a strange BMI vs body fat % ?

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I have the opposite problem! Frequently in my life I've weighed a normal amount but had an abnormally low bodyfat %. There was a period of time when I weighed 135 (I'm 5'7") - pretty normal - but my body fat % was only 9%, dangerously low for a woman. I wasn't getting my periods and this was why.

I do know, though, that those scales are often really inaccurate. If you're concerned, you can get your body fat % measured by a nurse practictioner. That's usually much more accurate.

Also, I'm not totally sure about this, but I'm not sure 30% is considered an "obese" bodyfat % anyway, for an adult woman. Isn't the "healthy" range something like 20% - 32%?

jump

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EM--

This is from a review of many of those "special" scales and body fat calculators:

"Anyone considering a purchase should keep an important point in mind: They are twitchy, especially when it comes to hydration levels."

Any change in plasma levels will cause the readings to be wonky. If it is truly important for you to know, take several readings over several days at different times and just average them. The only reason I step foot on a scale anymore is to monitor how much more I need to drink that day.

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I know before I got POTS I was super fit and slim. I had my measurements taken at a gym assessment in 1999 and I was 170cm (5'7"), 52kg (8st 2lb / 114 lbs), BMI 18, body fat 10%.

Within a year of the above readings I was a healthy weight at 9st 4lbs and kept that weight for a long time. Over the last 4 years I have gradually gained more weight. My current numbers are 170cm (5'7"), 79kg (12st 6lbs / 174lbs), BMI 27 (overweight), body fat 39%. I get my body fat readings from my bathroom scales which measure electrical impedence to calculate body fat but also body water content. I find the water readings very interesting. For a female my water should be 55-60% but mine sits stubbornly at 42%, if I have really been drinking loads and taking loads of salt I sometimes get a water content of 45% suggesting that I am always dehydrated. Seen as the same measurement is used to calculate the body fat and water percentages I wonder if having low water levels could cause a false high fat reading?

In my case I know I am overweight (well I was before landing in hospital last week). For others though I wonder if fluid status makes the body fat readings unreliable?

Flop

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I know before I got POTS I was super fit and slim. I had my measurements taken at a gym assessment in 1999 and I was 170cm (5'7"), 52kg (8st 2lb / 114 lbs), BMI 18, body fat 10%.

Within a year of the above readings I was a healthy weight at 9st 4lbs and kept that weight for a long time. Over the last 4 years I have gradually gained more weight. My current numbers are 170cm (5'7"), 79kg (12st 6lbs / 174lbs), BMI 27 (overweight), body fat 39%. I get my body fat readings from my bathroom scales which measure electrical impedence to calculate body fat but also body water content. I find the water readings very interesting. For a female my water should be 55-60% but mine sits stubbornly at 42%, if I have really been drinking loads and taking loads of salt I sometimes get a water content of 45% suggesting that I am always dehydrated. Seen as the same measurement is used to calculate the body fat and water percentages I wonder if having low water levels could cause a false high fat reading?

In my case I know I am overweight (well I was before landing in hospital last week). For others though I wonder if fluid status makes the body fat readings unreliable?

Flop

From the same article:

"They use a technology called bioelectrical impedance, which passes a small current through conductive foot pads or handheld electrodes (and, in some cases, both). The current can pass easily through water-rich muscle fiber, but it bogs down in fat. Based on a measure of impedance (how much of the current gets through from one electrode to the other), the machines use mathematical models to estimate the amount of fat that got in the way en route."

So, yup, hypovolemia=false fat

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Skinny Persons Can be Obese Inside

Sports makes fat people healthier

By Stefan Anitei, Science Editor

11th of May 2007, 13:07 GMT

If you think skinny means healthy, you're wrong.

Many experts now believe that the internal fat around vital organs like the heart, liver or pancreas, which cannot be seen, is more dangerous than the obvious external fat that stores underneath the skin.

"Being thin doesn't automatically mean you're not fat," said Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College, London.

A team has scanned since 1994 about 800 people with MRI machines to build "fat maps" revealing where people deposit the fat.

People who maintain their profile just through diet rather than exercise were found to possess higher deposits of internal fat, even if slim.

"The whole concept of being fat needs to be

redefined," said Bell.

Lacking a warning signal like swollen belly, thin people may be deceived by the idea that because they're not overweight, their health is strong.

"Just because someone is lean doesn't make them immune to diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease," said Dr. Louis Teichholz, chief of cardiology at Hackensack Hospital in New Jersey.

Bell's team discovered that even people with normal Body Mass Index (BMI) have surprisingly high levels of fat tissue: up to 45 % of the women with normal BMI scores had excessive levels of internal fat, while for men the number rose to about 60 %.

"People who are fat on the inside are essentially on the threshold of being obese." said Bell.

These people have a too abundant diet in fat and sugars without exercising: they just do not eat enough to be fat. Many experts still regard normal values of BMI as an indicator of good health. But many doctors believe the internal fat is increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The fat could make the body to mistakenly store more fat inside organs like the liver or pancreas, which ultimately leads to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, or heart disease. Indeed, experts have long known that fat but active people can be healthier than the skinny ones.

"Normal-weight persons who are sedentary and unfit are at much higher risk for mortality than obese persons who are active and fit," said Dr. Steven Blair, an obesity expert at the University of South Carolina.

"For example, despite their ripples of fat, super-sized Sumo wrestlers probably have a better metabolic profile than some of their slim, sedentary spectators," Bell said.

In the case of sports-practicing persons, the fat is deposed primarily under the skin, not mingling with their vital organs.

Still, there are hopes.

"Even if you don't see it on your bathroom scale, caloric restriction and physical exercise have an aggressive effect on visceral fat," said Dr. Bob Ross, an obesity expert at Queen's University in Canada.

"If you just want to look thin, then maybe dieting is enough. But if you want to actually be healthy, then exercise has to be an important component of your lifestyle." Bell said.

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I have a BMI of 19, but a body fat percentage of 32%. Sadly, I believe these numbers are true and that I can't blame POTS directly. The numbers have been more or less static for years and hardly vary according to when during the day they are measured or my general state of health.

Here are my thoughts. I naturally have a very light body frame and very poor muscle tone (I have EDS III). Anything else is fat.

For years I was very underweight, but the last 5 years or so my weight has crept up to the low end of normal for my height. Overall, I have had a 40% increase in weight in that time. I now have quite a curvy figure for my weight. It's mostly from fat.

I think the answer is that ideally I would trade some fat for muscle, but this is very difficult for anyone, let alone with EDSIII and POTS exercise intolerance. To the extent I have tried this by doing some resistance work in the gym, I have got the body fat percentage down a few points without decreasing my weight. And then I stop and the body fat percentage reverts to 32%.

Mmm. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten three cakes already today!

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I deleted my post, as I have too much to say sometimes about this subject.

I just think way too much research on BMI's and related subjects, and not enough about some very serious illnesses that are much more important and life threatening then the skinny obese problems some people have.

Skinny people aren't necessarily "healthy" people. You have to avoid the same things overweight/obese people do to be healthy------------including getting the RIGHT amount nutrients.

I think it's an important subject, and important skinny people know that just because they are skinny doesn't mean their total body fat is low. There's lots of skinny people walking around with CAD and diabetes.

However, some researchers and other medical professionals are so focused on the appearance of someone who is obese, and blame all their health problems on this.

I guess this is another subject altogether. :angry: Big things like CANCER can be missed.

Maxine :0)

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yep i am the skinny obese! I am 55 kg and 157cm tall. i am 33.26% fat. I had this test done by a DR where they stick something to your hand and measure impulses or something like that.

to try correct this im eating and drinking alot of protein. im also doing resistance training (cannot tolerate being upright to do exercise) im doing this by doing very very very slow repetitions of movements using weights and rubber tubing.

ive always been skinny obese, i remember having a gym assessment done 5 years ago (pre pots) and my body fat was 30%, they measured it a different way (i think the pinch test).

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