My annual numbers

Every term in MS 150 Statistics I use a body fat monitor to measure the students weight and to estimate their body fat. The data is primarily used, with names stripped out, as number sets to play with during the term. Secondarily this provides information to a population at high risk of obesity and associated metabolic syndromes, number two on the planet as a percentage of the population with a BMI higher that 25. The 2012 International Diabetes Federation atlas puts the FSM at number one on the planet for diabetes. The students become inured to my exhortations to exercise, eat right, and to track their numbers.

Because I get to see the students numbers, and because I exhort those around me to get annual physicals and exercise, I always feel that sharing my numbers is incumbent on me. Although I do try to take a pill for my health, my health habits are not yet well aligned with modern heart attack prevention guidelines.

Indicator 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Optimal

144 140 142 140

110 100 117 110 Below 120

70 70 80 70 Below 80
85 97 102 86 87 98 Below 100
Cholesterol 169 219 178 138 165 158 142 Below 200

78 124

57 41 41 47 45 51 Above 45
LDL 100 144 118 86 103 88 79 Under 100

3.5 3.5

Uric acid
7.7 6.9 7.8 6.8 7.1 9.4 Below 6

1.1 1.26


Heart Rate

49 60 53


13.9 12.3


41.8 39.6

The number that remains out of line is my uric acid, hitting a record high of 9.4 mg/dL.

Note that in the above chart uric acid is multiplied by a factor of ten for purposes of the chart scale.

The cholesterol drop since 2011 may in part be due to a shift to using soy milk rather than dairy milk. This was a by-product of my search for the source of gastrointestinal discomfort which ultimately turned out to be gluten intolerance. I continue to use soy milk for cereal in the morning when I can get soy milk.

Although I obviously must reduce protein intake, I also suspect that the uric acid climb is related to chronic dehydration. I know I do not drink enough pure water for the humid tropical climate in which I live.

I always encourages students, colleagues, and friends to get an annual physical. An annual physical is a dashboard view of how one's body is performing. How can one make informed decisions about necessary shifts in diet and exercise without knowing one's numbers? I have a friend who once had a car. Whenever a red light would turn on in the dashboard, he would put a piece of black electrical tape over the indicator. "That red light was worrying me, as long as I do not see it I do not worry, " he explained. Needless to say that car is no longer with us today. To not get an annual check-up seems like driving with electrical tape over your indicators. At some point you will suddenly and rather unexpectedly not have a body to walk around in. Get that check-up and then make the changes that you need to make to live a healthier and happier life.

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