Students on the treadmill
Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure to help assess if you are at a healthy weight and if weight loss is necessary. It can calculate the amount of fat your body consists of and help you decide what is a healthy weight for you.

This height weight chart is based on body mass index and the healthy weight range shown covers both men and women. Slim women tend to be toward the lower end of the healthy weight range, whilst men would still look slim at the top end of the healthy weight range. This is because of the differences in body composition between males and females. Use this chart to give you a prediction of your BMI


Weight in pounds
Visit the Free BMI Calculator
Blood Pressure

There is no ideal blood pressure reading, however, there is a range of normal blood pressure reading. Medical guidelines state that a normal blood pressure for most adults is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Drug treatment is recommended if your blood pressure is at or above 140/90 mm Hg. For people with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, drug treatment is recommended for a blood pressure level of 130/80 mm Hg or higher. For individuals aged 40 to 70 years, each 20/10mm Hg increase in blood pressure doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke,beginning at a blood pressure of 115/75 mm Hg.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is dangerous because it causes the heart to work extra hard. When the heart is forced to work extra hard for an extended period of time, it tends to enlarge. A slightly enlarged heart can function well,but a significantly enlarged heart cannot. High blood pressure can also causes damage to the arteries.

Hypertension can be treated. Mild cases of hypertension can be treated through behavior modification like changing diet and increasing exercise. More severe cases of hypertension require medications like diuretics and beta blockers. Diuretics rid the body of excess fluids and salt. Beta blockers reduce the heart rate and the heart's output of blood.

You can often test your blood pressure for free at your local grocery store, or by your physician. Use the chart below to ascertain whether your blood pressure is within normal ranges or not. If your reading is high you should consult your physician and keep a track of your blood pressure.

Category Systolic (mmHg)   Diastolic (mmHg)
Normal below 120 and below 80
Pre-Hypertension 120 - 139 or 80 - 89
Stage 1 High Blood Pressure Hypertension 140 - 159 or 90 - 99
Stage 2 High Blood Pressure Hypertension 160 + or 100 +

Category Blood Pressure Reading(mm Hg)
Normal below 120/80
Pre-Hypertension 120/80 - 139/89
Stage 1 High Blood Pressure Hypertension 140/90 - 159/99
Stage 2 High Blood Pressure Hypertension 160/100 +

Heart and Heart Rate

The heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute when we're at rest. Resting heart rate usually rises with age, and it's generally lower in physically fit people. Resting heart rate is used to determine one's training target heart rate. Athletes sometimes measure their resting heart rate as one way to find out if they're over trained. The heart rate adapts to changes in the body's need for oxygen, such as during exercise or sleep. The best time to find out your resting heart rate is in the morning, after a good night's sleep, and before you get out of bed.

The food you eat can affect the way blood flows through your heart and arteries. A diet high in fat and cholesterol can gradually cause a buildup (called "plaque") in your arteries. That buildup slows down the blood flow and blocks small arteries. If the blockage happens in an artery that carries blood to the heart muscle, a heart attack can occur. If the blockage happens in an artery that carries blood to the brain, a stroke can occur. The right diet helps keep your arteries clear and reduces the risk of heart problems and stroke.

Tips for a heart-healthy diet
  • Eat less fat (especially butter, coconut and palm oil, saturated or hydrogenated vegetable fats such as Crisco, animal fats in meats and fats in dairy products)
  • Use nonstick vegetable oil cooking sprays instead of oils.
  • Buy lean cuts of meat, and eat fish, skinless chicken and turkey instead of beef.
  • Try low-fat snacks that have been baked instead of fried, such as pretzels.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk, and low-fat cheese, yogurt and margarine.
  • Eat no more than 4 egg yolks a week (use egg whites or egg substitutes).
  • Try to limit how many sweets you eat.
  • Bake, broil, steam or grill foods instead of frying them.
  • Eat fewer "fast foods" (burgers, fried foods), which are high in fat. Instead, eat more fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates (rice, pasta, breads, grains).
  • Drink low-calorie beverages, such as unsweetened tea or diet soda pop.


When cholesterol levels in the blood are high, it begins to accumulate in the artery walls. Over time, the arteries become narrowed, blocking blood flow to the heart, brain, or other vital organs and a clot is likely to form. If the artery is blocked, the heart (or brain, or kidney, or other body part) does not receive adequate oxygen so a heart attack (or stroke) occurs.

Forms of Cholesterol

LDL cholesterol is the primary form. When it gets high, it clogs the arteries.

HDL cholesterol is protective against heart disease. Its role is to pick up excess cholesterol in the arteries and transport it back to the liver. Thus, the higher the HDL levels the lower your health risk.

Triglycerides are another lipid or fat in your arteries. If they become too high they also contribute to clogging of the arteries and increase the likelihood of a clot forming.

Rating Category LDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)* HDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)
Optimum Less than 100 60-90 or higher
Near optimum 100-129 50-59
Increased Risk 130-159 41-49
High risk 160-189 35-40
Very high risk 190 or higher less than 35

Rating Category Triglycerides (mg/dL)
Optimum 100 or less
Near optimum 100-149
Increased Risk 150-199
High risk 200-399
Very high risk 400 or higher

*LDL cholesterol is the preferred way to evaluate cholesterol levels rather than using total cholesterol.

High cholesterol is caused by a variety of factors including hereditary influences, excess body fat, eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol,and not eating enough foods high dietary fiber. Ways to lower your cholesterol include;

  • Achieve/maintain a healthy weight
  • Be physically active
  • Avoid smoking
  • Dietary changes
  1. Reduce saturated fat
  2. Choose unsaturated fat
  3. Limit or avoid dietary cholesterol
  4. Eat high fiber foods
  5. Avoid trans-fatty acids
  6. Drink adequate water daily

For more information about any of the issues discussed here, please contact your physician