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Interpreting Your BMI

BMI Weight Category
Under 18.5 Underweight
18.5- 24.9 Normal
25 - 29.9 Overweight
30 - 34.9 Obese
35 - 39.9 Clinically Obese
40 or greater Morbidly Obese

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a general indicator of whether or not you are maintaining a healthy weight based on the ratio of your weight to your height. It’s an imperfect scale as it doesn't account for differences in body types. For example, a 5 foot 9 inch bodybuilder who weighs 215 pounds and has a 6% body fat would be labeled obese. And there is already a new scale just for people from Southeast Asia where the ranges are lowered.

While it can be a good indicator of the healthiness of your weight if you fall within certain statistical norms that were used to develop it, it should be taken with a significant grain of salt and should not be used as a substitute for a professional evaluation of your health by a doctor.

Contact Us

Center for Weight Management
Two locations:

20 Research Place
North Chelmsford, MA 01863

203 Turnpike Street
2nd Floor
North Andover, MA 01845

Contact Us Form

Phone: 978-788-7200
TTY: 978-937-6889
Phone: 877-LGH-WELL

Elba Rosario (from Lawrence)

Healthy and Happy Now

Lost more than 100 pounds over the past two years

Elba Rosario's weight had taken a serious toll on her physical and mental health. Weighing 230 pounds with a body mass index (BMI) of 44 (a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese), the Lawrence resident had high blood pressure and severe asthma for which she took medication, and sleep apnea for which she used a special machine to help her breathe at night. Elba was also depressed.

"I used to cry a lot because I tried so many times to lose weight and wasn't succeeding," she says.

Then she heard about Lowell General Hospital's Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery. After attending a free informational meeting, undergoing a comprehensive evaluation and with her doctor's encouragement, Elba had gastric bypass surgery on September 28, 2010, performed by bariatric surgeon Roy R. Shen, MD. It was the first step in a remarkable transformation.

Elba has lost more than 100 pounds over the past two years; today she weighs 109 lbs. and her BMI is a normal 23. Her blood pressure is normal and she no longer takes medication. Her sleep apnea has resolved itself, and while she once used three different inhalers to manage her asthma, she now has just one in case a problem arises when she exercises (she has not had an asthma attack in two years).

And boy, does she exercise! Elba goes to the gym almost every day where she uses the treadmill, stationary bicycle, Stairmaster and weights.

She also changed her diet. "I don't eat fast food and if I eat rice or pasta, it's a very small portion," she says.

Elba credits the extensive support services that the Center offers patients for her continued success in maintaining her weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

"Making all these changes wasn't that hard actually. I went to support groups and got so much information and education," she says, referring to a Saturday Support Group for Spanish-speaking participants, which is held weekly. She also attended the Center's most recent "Relax, Refocus, Reenergize" retreat in October. "I have gotten help from the nutritionist and the whole team," she adds.

Elba, in turn, has helped other women find their way to the Center, including her niece who was inspired by Elba's success and chose to undergo bariatric surgery herself. 

When Elba learned that Lowell General Hospital was planning to open a second Center in North Andover in early 2013, she expressed her support noting that the additional site will make services more accessible for those community members living on the other side of Route 495.

What keeps Elba motivated to exercise and watch her diet two years post-op?

"My health," she says, simply. "My life has changed; I am a different person. I am healthy, and so happy now!"

Click here to learn if you are a candidate for Surgical Treatment and find out when you can attend one of our FREE Weight Management Information Sessions - ENGLISH or Weight Management Information Sessions - SPANISH.

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