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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

Elena Minaya (from Lawrence)

Gastric Bypass Patient Elena Minaya:

"It's like a second chance, to be reborn."

"I thought they were the final days of my life," says Elena Minaya of the dark time before she had gastric bypass surgery.

By age 48 — three years ago  she weighed over 200 pounds and suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux and asthma – and had to take medication for each condition. Then she developed lung problems for which she underwent painful surgery and had to take steroid medication.

"That caused me to gain even more weight," she says, noting that she reached 252.5 pounds at her heaviest. "I couldn't take a shower or get dressed without my husband helping me. I couldn't even walk that well. I was very depressed."

In 2012, Minaya's primary care physician referred her to Lowell General's Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery. There she learned about surgical options for weight loss and opted to undergo gastric bypass surgery performed by Roy Shen, MD, chief of surgery at Lowell General Hospital.

Her procedure took place on October 29, 2012. As of late July 2013, she has lost nearly 90 pounds, and has just 15 more pounds to lose to reach her goal weight of 150.

"It has changed my life in such positive ways," she says of the weight loss. "I can now bathe myself, walk by myself, even run! I feel younger and have much more energy. It's like a second chance, to be reborn."

Her health issues also have largely resolved, reducing or eliminating her need for medications.

"I don't have problems with high blood pressure so I don't have to take that medication anymore," she says. "My cholesterol is normal but the doctors want me to keep taking that medication. And my diabetes has improved – my A1C was 11.9 before and my most recent was 7.5. Plus, my asthma is 95 percent better and my acid reflux has improved a lot, too. I just feel so much better," she adds.

Minaya continues to meet with the Center's nutritionist to help guide her food choices.

"They show you how to eat in a healthy way," she says. "The only things my body doesn't tolerate are sweets and greasy, fried foods. Otherwise, I'm able to eat just about anything."

Because of her earlier lung surgery, Minaya is unable to lift weights, but she walks regularly for exercise.

"My self-esteem is much better," she says. "I feel good in my mind and when I look at myself, I like what I see now."

So does her husband, Jose (who underwent gastric bypass surgery three months after Elena).

"It's like I've found a new bride," he says, smiling. "And we're on our honeymoon, starting all over again."

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.

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