Body size not only measured by clothing sizes

Healthy bytes

Biometric data. Your stats. Your digits. BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, height, weight, body surface area, dress size, pant size, bra size, even IQ. While we’re at it, EQ, LDL, HDL, A1C and TSH. Some of these measurements are familiar to some of you. What are they? They all measure people.

Or do they?

I hear many people worrying out loud about different aspects of their health related to their body size. While numbers can help guide us regarding our health, remember that these numbers are only tools for guidance. They do not measure a person. The perfect dress size does not equal perfection, and perhaps a person can indeed be too rich and too thin.

So how does a person gain or maintain health? What is the goal if not a number? Well, that’s a good question that I can’t answer entirely. A conversation with your health provider can help you guide your goals. While you’re there, ask him or her to take into account your genetics and your personality. Be prepared to discuss not only family and genetic makeup but also family and personal habits. Family history is more than genetics; traditions carried for generations affect the health of the family for generations. However, each generation gets to “tweak” the tradition a little or a lot.

The most important thing to remember when working to reach you health goals — whether that means bringing your BMI into a healthy range, fitting into a mother-of-the-bride dress, reducing your cholesterol, improving your diabetes or avoiding another heart attack is that the numbers don't define you. They guide you. The numbers are a tool and nothing more.

Mary Brown is a registered nurse with an interest in health promotion and fitness. She can be reached at


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