THE SCIENCE BIT ...
Dress size doesn't give much away when it comes to health. But here are some figures that do:
- Waist-to-hip ratio
Medics reckon this is even more useful than BMI for predicting heart disease, as it takes into account abdominal fat. Fat carried around the waist is less chemically stable than other fat, and therefore more dangerous. Measure your waist at its narrowest part with a tape measure (usually just below your ribcage). Then measure the widest part of your hips. Divide the first number by the second. A healthy range is between 0.6 and 0.8.
'Bad' cholesterol -- made up of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) -- can cause arterial blockages, while 'good' cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein/HDL) fights the bad stuff. You should get screened regularly. To be within healthy ranges: your LDL should be below 100 and your HDL above 50.
- Blood pressure
This calculates how intensely your heart is working to pump blood through your body. Doctors measure it using the cuff round your upper arm. Between 90/60 and 120/80 is a healthy range.
- Percentage of body fat
The ideal percentage of body fat for women varies according to such factors as activity levels and age, but as a guideline, it is not recommended that women go below 10pc body fat.
A general guide
10-12pc - Essential Fat
14-20pc - Athletic Fat Levels
21-24pc - Fitness Fat Levels
25-31pc - Acceptable Fat Levels
Greater than 32pc - Obese