BMI

Ain’t everyday, a girl can say her panties have become bloomers!

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For the past couple of weeks, I have been under the weather. I was also taking an antibiotic. I do not know if it caused the swelling, but I had a lot swelling in my hands, legs, and feet. It was harsh looking at my scale. But, I knew that I had to keep going, and not get discouraged. I am finally off of the medication. I got on the scale today, and I have not only hit my short-term goal of 20 pounds lost, but I have exceeded it by 1.8 additional pounds. Holy guacamole! I have now successfully gotten off 32.8 pounds, and how wonderful it feels.

I knew going in, with the decision to lose weight, as I actually lived, was not easy, and an extremely slow process. I am in the same situation that many Americans are, unemployed, living on very little income. I can’t afford the gym, organic foods, or the fancier boost. I am losing weight through the use of everyday activities that I have to do around the house, with a boost of music, such as chasing behind my 18 month old, dancing while washing dishes and vacuuming, grocery shopping (which I extend to about an hour), and 15 minute walks with my little one, most days of the week. I figure I just need to move, and it doesn’t matter where or how often, as long as I am doing it.

Everyday activities are often not thought about as exercise, but it is. If I turn on Maroon 5, and Move Like Jagger, everyday activities can become a full-blown workout! I love that song, and who can possibly sit down and not get your boogie on when that creation of art is playing? Also, my baby is learning to jump, so I’ve come up with a game where we jump, shake, and dance!  She can’t do it, unless I am, right?

Food is becoming less of a prison for me. I wanted to go through this process eating what I wanted, and could afford, with some changes. If I want fried chicken, I cook, and eat it. However, I take the skin off. It has made a huge difference, in my weight loss journey. Thankfully, I am not a huge fried chicken girl, I prefer it baked or boiled, which I still take the skin off. Smaller portion sizes have been a nice weapon also. I am never hunger, because of fillers, my fruits and vegetables, which are not very costly.

I am losing weight on a tight to none existing budget, and I am over the moon that my panties are becoming bloomers! I am losing weight from head to toe, and I feel fantastic!!!!!! Where there is a will, there is a way!

Oh and my BMI has dropped an entire point! I am going to say it, even though I prefer not to curse in my blogs, but HOT DAMN!!!

Belviq: The New Diet Drug

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I don’t know if the risk associated is worth an estimated 5% of my weight decreased in a year. Using the charts below, let us break these numbers down, in regards to Belviq:

BMI
Weight   Status
Below   18.5 Underweight
18.5 –   24.9 Normal
25.0 –   29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese
Height
Weight Range
BMI
Weight Status
5′ 9″ 124                    lbs or less Below                    18.5 Underweight
125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5                    to 24.9 Normal
169 lbs to 202 lbs 25.0                    to 29.9 Overweight
203 lbs or more 30 or                    higher Obese

Belviq is for people who have a BMI of 30 and higher; overweight patients with a BMI of 27 or higher can also take this drug. This drug estimates a loss of at leat 5% of your body weight, within a year. So for instance, based on the chart above, 10.15 pounds of the 203 pounds listed in the above chart will be lost. It states on the FDA Approval Letter that this drug, along with reduced calorie intake, and increased exercise was more effective. This medicine is consumed twice a day, and has side effects and warnings, such as

  • Discontinue use, if 5% weight loss has not occurred by the 12th week
  • Valvular Heart Disease
  • Psychiatric Disorders

Unless there is a medical reason that prohibits a patient losing weight, with lower calorie intake and exercise, why would they take this medicine? Five percent of 300 is only 15 pounds, and I would have to ask if this drug is worth the risk? This is about 1 to 2 pounds loss a week. I can attest that this is achievable, with mild, but constant activity and increase in healthier foods, without medications. I eat whatever I want to eat, just in smaller portions, with an increase in fruits and vegetable as fillers. I get full eating heavier, healthier foods that do not add weight, when eaten in moderation.

If a drug needs to trigger your brain that you are not hungry, then why isn’t obesity taken more seriously as a mental disorder, widespread?Belviq was denied two years ago, because of concerns of the risks, although approved yesterday, without mentioning any changes. Was this drug passed to offer a ‘solution’ for obesity, without really being an answer? Was this drug placed in the market for profit? Was this drug approved, due to pressures of the government? I ask these questions, because it makes no sense how it would help me, for instance, lose weight that I am losing on my own. I have read trying to find the ‘ah ha’ factor, but I can’t find one. I am sure there is a reason that there has not been a  drug approved in 13 years, for obesity. I wonder if it has been so long, because weight loss happens only when the person is ready to commit, regardless of efforts from health care professionals?

This drug, with its FDA approval, can now be made available to all private and public insurance carriers. It is an oral tablet, therefore covered under the pharmacy benefit. I wonder how much this drug retails for. I am curious about the reimbursement factors of this drug, and the expected cost share to the consumers. However, I have been unable to find this information.

References:

Boyles, Salynn (2012). FDA Approves Diet Pill Belviq. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20120627/fda-approves-diet-pill-belviq

Eisai (2012). Highlights of Prescribing Information. Retrieved from http://us.eisai.com/package_inserts/BelviqPI.pdf

Berlrot, B., Yukhanonov, A. (2012). FDA OKs first obesity drug in 13 years. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/27/us-arena-obesity-idUSBRE85Q1AA20120627

Arena (2012). Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai Announce FDA Approval of BELVIQ® (lorcaserin HCl) for Chronic Weight Management in Adults who are Overweight with a Comorbidity or Obese. Retrieved from http://invest.arenapharm.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=687182

How much does your BMI cost you?

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I am seriously beginning to understand and know my friend better. I want us up close and personal. My body mass index (BMI) isn’t very cute, actually she’s quite fugly. However, there is beauty in her, I just need to dig dip and pull it out, because I know it’s there. Since beginning my weight loss journey, December 2011, I have decreased my BMI by 3.82. It sure doesn’t seem like much, but it sure wasn’t easy.

There are four categories, according to the CDC: underweight, normal, overweight, and obesity.  Each group is assigned to a numerical scale, which will correlate with a person’s suggested BMI.

BMI
Weight   Status
Below   18.5 Underweight
18.5 –   24.9 Normal
25.0 –   29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese

This number will also be used to decide statistical groups of high risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc. This means that we are judged and placed in a group that may or may not seem positive and ill-defined, whether we like it or not. Whether I approve is a non-factor, because so many are trying to grasp and control the growing number of obesity. This number gives a starting point.

This is not the only use for this number. Employers and insurance groups are also finding use in this number. An individual’s premium rates can be determined by their BMI (Associate Press 2007). Using the BMI, an insurance group make decisions of whether you are a high risk person or not. And if you are not in the healthy weight group, then the assumption is that you are overweight, and could potentially need more health care coverage than others. Yes, you have now been reduced to a dollar, and this is not going to help your self-esteem, in the least bit, but it is a reality.

An employer who is self-funded has a tremendous amount of clout, in determining the structure of their health care policies. For instance, if you are a smoker, I have seen employer groups that offer health care policies for smokers and non-smokers, where the smokers’ premium rates are slightly higher. This same process, although not widely used, is an option for an employer group using the BMI.

Insurance rates are rapidly increasing, and until the last stage of the Health Care Reform Act in 2014, there isn’t anything that can be done. The rates may only increase by 10 to 15%, for example; however, if you are a family of 4 and your per pay period premium rate, for a PPO plan, is $450, it will increase by $517.50-540.00. This is a considerable increase, especially when you consider your deductibles and co-insurances. Now, consider a chronic illness, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, with a policy that has a lifetime max of $500,000. Depending on your level of obesity, the actual diagnosis, and severity of your diagnosis, you very well could exceed that half million dollars. Then what?

Body Mass Index and Average Premiums
Average Premiums ($)
BMI
Weight Status
Female
Male
Overall
Below 18.5
Underweight
$172/month
$157/month
$169/month
18.5 – 24.9
Normal
$180/month
$143/month
$164/month
25.0 – 29.9
Overweight
$211/month
$172/month
$185/month
30.0 and Above
Obese
$221/month
$187/month
$201/month
Percent increase in average premiums from Normal to Obese:
22.8%
30.8%
22.6%
Policyholders in the ‘Obese’ BMI category pay 22.6% more on average than those in the ‘Normal’ BMI category (Ehealth 2011)

With that being said, quite often there are incentives offered to lower your BMI and weight, by most employers and insurance groups. Although, the incentives are nice, I feel that mandatory training and education should come with it. The education should include food and nutrition, exercise tips and management, and/or behavior counseling.  At this point, the consumers have had time to properly invest in education and training, and if the decision is to not heed the assistance provided, then it allows probable cause to penalize (increase premiums) the consumers.

I believe this will be the new future. There’s promise in this practice. In addition, I believe the government should follow the same practice, with the health care reform act: educate, apply, and effectively enhance a chance for success in weight loss.

References:

Associated Press (2007). Shrink your BMI–and your insurance bill. MSNBC. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17385151/ns/health-fitness/t/shrink-your-bmi-your-insurance-bill/

Ehealth (2011). eHealth Data Shows that Smokers and Overweight Consumers Pay More for Individual Health Insurance. Retrieved from http://news.ehealthinsurance.com/pr/ehi/ehealth-data-shows-that-smokers-221171.aspx