The entertainment press has had a field day with Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom, with new revelations and rumors arriving on a nearly daily basis about the couple's marital status, drug and alcohol use, and now, weight. With Kim Kardashian posting pictures of her post-baby body, some attention has been drawn away from Khloe's husband, former NBA star Lamar Odom, but some members of the press are concerned that he is underweight.
Without access to Odom's medical records, the Allentown Health Examiner can only provide background information on BMI for a healthy adult male of Odom's height, as well as information about nutritional and caloric needs for an active athlete. TMZ calls Odom "scarily thin" -- how thin is he? Odom's NBA.com profile lists him as 6'10'', 230 pounds. According to the BMI calculator for adults at MayoClinic.com, the stats on NBA.com yield a BMI of 24, within the "normal" range of 18.5 to 24.9: "Congratulations! Your healthy weight is well worth the effort." To maintain this healthy weight, Mayo advises, "[c]hoos[e] a variety of nutrient-rich foods," "[a]im for 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense activity daily," and "[s]et action goals focused on specific healthy activities such as improving muscle tone."
It may be, however, that Odom's NBA profile has not been updated recently. How light would he have to be, in order to be classified as "underweight"? If his listed height of six feet, ten inches, is accurate, a body weight of 175 pounds would put him at a BMI of 18.3, at the high end of "underweight." Mayo's advice for underweight individuals is to "[e]mbrace healthy eating," including "between-meal healthy snacks," and to exercise, focusing on "lean muscle development" as advised by a doctor. Any weight higher than 175 would put Odom in the "normal" range, so it may be that TMZ's observation is off-base. Certainly, TMZ's advice to eat "a couple of cheeseburgers" is misguided.
Perhaps of greater concern than Odom's weight is his nutritional intake. Recently published research focusing on male Polish athletes ages 19 to 25 -- Odom will be 34 years old in early November 2013 -- indicates that athletes' energy intake is frequently insufficient, and that vitamins C and D, calcium, folate, magnesium, and potassium are often deficient in young male athletes. TMZ spotted Odom exiting an Armenian restaurant, so again, concern about his health may be ill-founded. Armenian food is far more nutritionally dense than the food in the Standard American Diet. For example, as bloggers Robyn and Douglas Kalajian note, "Walk into a Middle Eastern grocery store, and here's what you'll find: shelf after shelf piled high with legumes, [...] whole wheat, or whole-grain products [...] Even their desserts were healthier. Many contained nuts, dried fruit, and were sweetened with only a little honey or a touch of sugar." Indeed, the Mayo Clinic advises would-be healthy eaters to choose "a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and energy-dense foods like olive oil, nuts, and dried fruits."
If Lamar Odom is eating Armenian food, staying clean of drugs and alcohol, and working on building lean muscle, then he is well on his way to a great NBA comeback. The Allentown Health Examiner hopes that many Americans will discover the healthful and great-tasting ethnic foods contributed to our country by people of diverse heritage.