Thursday, January 10th, 2013 by

How is Your Body Mass Index or BMI?

Law enforcement officers need to monitor and maintain their bodies just as they would care for any other piece of tactical equipment like their vehicle or weapon.

Tracking your body mass index is one part of that process.  BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.

You can CLICK HERE to use a quick BMI calculator from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists the categories for BMI as:

Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

Use their quick online calculator to find out where you are by CLICKING HERE to see what your BMI is.

If you work in law enforcement you should know, and monitor your body mass index.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control “Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number… calculated from a person’s weight and height. BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness for most people. BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI correlates to direct measures of body fat, such as underwater weighing and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA).” They say that “BMI can be considered an alternative for direct measures of body fat. Additionally, BMI is an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems.”
Learn more from thier website by CLICKING HERE.

Recent findings reported from the BCOPS research underway at the University of Buffalo in New York suggest:

“The daily psychological stresses that police officers experience in their work put them at significantly higher risk than the general population for a host of long-term physical and mental health effects”.

“We wanted to know, in addition to stress, what are other contributing factors that lead to cardiovascular disease in police?,” says John Violanti, the lead researcher from the University at Buffalo and a former New York State trooper.

The current findings, from a larger, cross-sectional study of four-hundred-sixty-four police officers, include:

– more than 25 percent of the officers had metabolic syndrome versus 18.7 percent of the general employed population

– female and male officers experiencing the highest level of self-reported stress were four- and six-times more likely to have poor sleep quality, respectively

– organizational stress and lack of support was associated with the metabolic syndrome in female but not male police officers

– overall, an elevated risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma was observed relative to the general population. The risk of brain cancer, although only slightly elevated relative to the general population, was significantly increased with 30 years or more of police service.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health and their U.S. National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Health website, Metabolic syndrome is a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

The two most important risk factors for metabolic syndrome are:

Extra weight around the middle and upper parts of the body (central obesity). The body may be described as “apple-shaped.”

Insulin resistance. The the body uses insulin less effectively than normal. Insulin is needed to help control the amount of sugar in the body. As a result, blood sugar and fat levels rise.

Other risk factors include:

  • Aging
  • Genes that make you more likely to develop this condition
  • Hormone changes
  • Lack of exercise

People who have metabolic syndrome often have two other problems that can either cause the condition or make it worse:
Excess blood clotting
Increased levels of blood substances that are a sign of inflammation throughout the body
To learn more from the National Institutes of Health site CLICK HERE.

According to the Mayo Clinic metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist or abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk is even greater.

If you have metabolic syndrome or any of the components of metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.
To learn more from the Mayo Clinic site CLICK HERE.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.

The term “metabolic” refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning. Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease.

“Heart Disease” refers to coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque (plak) builds up inside the coronary (heart) arteries.

Plaque hardens and narrows the arteries, reducing blood flow to your heart muscle. This can lead to chest pain, a heart attack, heart damage, or even death.
Metabolic Risk Factors

The five conditions described below are metabolic risk factors. You can have any one of these risk factors by itself, but they tend to occur together. You must have at least three metabolic risk factors to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.

A Large Waistline
This also is called abdominal obesity or “having an apple shape.” Excess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.

A High Triglyceride Level
(or you’re on medicine to treat high triglycerides). Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.

A Low HDL Cholesterol Level
(or you’re on medicine to treat low HDL cholesterol). HDL sometimes is called “good” cholesterol. This is because it helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL cholesterol level raises your risk for heart disease.

High Blood Pressure
(or you’re on medicine to treat high blood pressure). Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque buildup.

High Fasting Blood Sugar
(or you’re on medicine to treat high blood sugar). Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.

Learn more at the National Institutes of Health website by CLICKING HERE.

Bottom line is that as part of your plans for the New Year you should be checking on and taking care of your physical self.

Stay Safe!

CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.

At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.

Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” on-site training program is an eight hour, hands-on, “How to” seminar that helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE

The concept of “True Blue Valor™” is where one law enforcement officer has to muster the courage to confront a peer who is slipping both professionally and personally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of courage and intervention. We will train your trainers to deliver this program to your agency.
To learn more CLICK HERE

Our “Armor Your Agency™: How to Create a Healthy and Supportive Law Enforcement Agency” Program includes critical strategies that you will need to build a system of support and encouragement for a healthy and productive agency. To learn more CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to read more about The Law Enforcement Survival Institute.

CLICK HERE if you would like to contact us to learn more about training for your organization.

I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of CopsAlive.com. Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

CopsAlive.com was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!

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