Making Sense of BMI

Vantage Point: BMI – The Number of Dread

If you’ve ever had to step on a scale (begrudgingly) at the doctor’s office, you know that based on that scale’s number, the following conversation with your doctor may be about your body mass index (BMI).

For many years, as my age and weight increased, I wanted to hear less and less about this number. Not only did I already know that I had gained more than a few pounds, I was also very aware that my numbers (A1C, BMI, etc.) probably weren’t where they needed to be.

And honestly, I didn’t want to hear it! Luckily, my A1C surprised me. It was great. But my BMI could be better.

BMI is divided into these categories:

  • Underweight = Less than 18.5 BMI
  • Normal Weight = 18.5 to 24.9 BMI
  • Overweight = 25 to 29.9 BMI
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

So why get your BMI checked? Because for most people, it can provide a baseline for predicting the likelihood of developing serious illnesses in the future. We’re talking type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer, just to name a few.

Reba Karr, our quality improvement coordinator, says, “There’s not a lot any of us can do to change our height, gender, or age. But even a modest weight loss, between 5% and 10% of your current body weight, can have a strong impact on overall health. If you combined calorie reduction with a gradual increase in exercise, such as walking, you can enhance the improvement more rapidly.”

The next time you see your doctor, have them check your BMI just to start the conversation about specific actions you could be taking to improve it. You can also visit our health and wellness resources for more info on weight management.

 

Breck Obermeyer is a community liaison with Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. She is a small-town girl from Naches and has a great husband who can fix anything and 2 kids who are her world.

Avoiding Senior Scams

Long View: Don’t Be Fooled This April

I grew up in a small household and was the baby in the family. I always loved to laugh and still do today. It’s one of my daily doses of medicine!

As a kid, I always liked April Fools’ Day. I would spend the night before thinking of how I could fool my older sister and parents.

One year, I screamed and got my family’s attention by saying there was a mouse in the kitchen. My sister stood on top of a chair at the kitchen table, and my mom went to get my dad to set the mouse trap. Once everyone was gathered, I said, “Do you know what day it is?” It took a minute or two, but when they saw the fooled-you-again grin on my face, they knew. April fools!

Every year, I would come up with something fun, and wouldn’t you know, my family would fall for it — every, single, time. The point was to get them to laugh, and of course for me, it was another successful first day of April for the books!

Little pranks are fun when you’re a kid, making your family laugh and being the clown of the family. But these days, we see pranks that aren’t so fun that target our senior population, and the point isn’t laughter, but rather to take advantage of them. These pranks are called senior scams, and April is prime time for scammers to come out and make their move.

One of the biggest scams every year is the IRS phone scam. With many people still filing their taxes in the final 2 weeks of tax season, we all should be on the alert. These scammers will use fake names and badge numbers, and they can even alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. As tax filing season draws to an end in April, these scammers will threaten police arrest or possibly make other threats to prey on the senior population.

Why are older citizens targeted?

Many seniors have some kind of “nest egg” they rely on, and this population is also known for having excellent credit. Also, people who grew up in the 1930s through the 1950s were generally raised to be polite. In other words, they may listen longer without cutting off conversations. This allows the scammer more conversation time to be convincing and possibly get their victim to fall for the scam.

Some general tips to remember are that government agencies do not perform their work over the phone. They also don’t use email, texting, or social media to reach out to consumers. If you’re approached by any of these means, report it. If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you can go to FTC.gov and use the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant, or call them at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Don’t get fooled this April. Get your dose of the last laugh as you stay focused on not being a target of senior scams.

 

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.

What Grandparents Should Know About Vaccines

Covered Bridge: 3 Things Grandparents Should Know About Vaccines

There are few things more exciting in this world than the arrival of a grandchild. The anticipation of seeing if the baby has your child’s eyes, the enjoyment of picking out all of those adorable baby clothes, and those precious weekends at grandma’s!

While flu season is slowly falling behind us, new grandparents should also remember the importance of protecting their grandchild from preventable illnesses by understanding all vaccines. Vaccines are not just important for the newborn, but also for you.

  1. Vaccines Are Safe and Effective

    The medical community is in agreement that vaccines are safe and effective and that they do not cause serious harm to children. Vaccines are the single most important method to prevent diseases like polio, whooping cough, and the measles. Vaccines go through rigorous testing, and children are far more likely to be harmed by the illnesses than by the vaccines themselves. The World Health Organization has a useful website debunking myths about vaccines.

  2. Whooping Cough

    Do you think whooping cough is an extinct illness from your childhood? Sadly, because people haven’t been vaccinating their kids, illnesses that were once very rare thanks to high vaccination rates are now reappearing.

    Whooping cough (also called pertussis) is one illness that is especially dangerous to newborns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that in 2017, there were 17,972 reported cases of whooping cough. While that number is down from 2014, it certainly shows there is still an issue.

  3. Time for a Booster?

    You may be thinking, “Wait! I was already vaccinated against whooping cough when I was a child.” But the CDC recommends you get a Tdap shot, the vaccine that protects against whooping cough, every 10 years or if you’re 65 or older and in close contact with infants. Don’t forget about your annual flu shot either.

Take steps to protect the health of you and your grandbaby. Making precious memories with your new grandchild will be more enjoyable with that peace of mind.

 

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

Healthy Waffle Day Recipes

Healthy Waffle Day Recipes

It was Waffle Day earlier this week, and to celebrate, we featured healthy waffle recipes all week to help you channel your inner Leslie Knope.

Parks And Recreation Waffle GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

First up is a simple staple you need in your back pocket, Whole-Wheat Greek Yogurt Waffles.

These healthy Banana, Oat & Blueberry Waffles will fill your family up and keep them energized.

Banana, Oat & Blueberry Waffles
Image and Recipe via My Kids Lick the Bowl

 

Sneak veggies into your brunch with these Sweet Potato Carrot Waffles.

Take waffles on the go with these Meal Prep Chocolate Almond Flour Waffles.

These Healthy Blueberry Matcha Waffles beautifully combine your breakfast and drink order.

Fulfill your fall cravings year-round with these delicious Oatmeal Pumpkin Waffles.

Whip up these Healthy Banana Waffles that are fluffy inside and crispy outside for a morning treat.

Healthy Banana Waffles
Image and Recipe via Savory Nothings
Save Your Vision Month

Save Your Vision Month

It’s Save Your Vision Month, and you can protect your vision in your day-to-day life. Between 8.2 and 15.9 million people’s vision issues are from a correctable problem that could be treated by your eye doctor, so your first priority to save your vision is regular eye checkups.

Smoking is an irritant to your eyes, but it’s also a major risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), plus it’s a leading cause of preventable diseases. Quit smoking now.

Quit Smoking for Your Vision

 

Diabetes can take a toll on your vision. Learn more about diabetic eye disease and how you can protect your eyes.

Eye infections from handling your contact lenses incorrectly can cause real damage. Make sure you know how to handle contacts safely.

If you work in a manufacturing or trade field, it can be extremely important to cover your eyes with appropriate eye gear, like goggles or a mask. Even when working on home improvements or in the yard, it can be a good idea to wear protective eye gear for tasks, like trimming tree branches.

Using Protective Eye Gear

 

With the rise of technical jobs and computers on every desk, eye strain has increased, causing dry eyes and blurry vision. People frequently blink less looking at their computer. Keep eyedrops or a humidifier handy in your work area to avoid dry eyes.

Preventing Eye Dryness

 

You might not be able to cut back screen use at work or home, but changing the lighting to use less blue light in the evenings or wearing new special eye glasses that filter blue light can help you avoid eye strain and sleep better.

Avoiding Eye Strain
Quick Women's Health Tips

Quick Women’s Health Tips

It’s Women’s History Month, which makes it the perfect time to talk about your health and issues with these quick women’s health tips.

Prenatal care and care after you give birth are key parts of a healthy pregnancy. Learn more about your pregnancy care.

 

Your yearly well-woman visit with your doctor is the right time to talk about issues like endometriosis and menopause and to get routine screenings for breast and cervical cancer and bone density.

 

Women are more likely to die from a heart attack, and one of the reasons for that is not knowing the heart attack symptoms for women, which are different than for men.

Women and Heart Attacks

 

Women are more likely to show signs of depression and anxiety than men.

Depression and Anxiety in Women

 

STDs can affect women more seriously than men, which makes screenings and the HPV vaccine very important.

STDs' Impact on Women

 

Osteoarthritis, which affects more women than men, can hurt your ability to be independent later in life.

Osteoarthritis and Women

 

Women are more likely to suffer from urinary tract issues throughout their lives.

UTIs and Women
Focus on Nutrition

Tips to Focus on Nutrition

In honor of National Nutrition Month, this week in food, we’re helping you focus on nutrition and make smart choices.

Lighten up your morning coffee run with these quick tips.

Smart Choices at the Coffee Shop

 

See what you know about what you eat or brush up with these quizzes on the different food groups.

Do you understand nutrition labels? They can be key to understanding what you’re buying, and we can help you break them down.

 

Is takeout your go-to on busy weekdays? These helpful tips can help you make smart choices.

Smart Choices in Takeout

 

School lunches are built to help your kids eat a balanced meal. Break them down to better understand them.

Balanced School Lunches

 

Teen girls sometimes struggle to build healthy eating habits. These tips can help them make smart, healthy decisions and avoid eating disorders.

Food Tips for Teen Girls

 

Teen boys might be able to get away with eating anything now, but these tips can help them set good habits they’ll be grateful for later in life.

Food Tips for Teen Boys
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