Obesity is a condition characterized by the build up of excessive body fat. Obesity is defined differently depending on the country, but in Western countries, such as the U.S. and many European countries, obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m^2.
Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used as a screening tool for overweight or obesity. Generally, you are not considered obese until your body weight is at least 20% above what it should be.
The most common way to determine whether or not you are of average healthy weight is by calculating your body mass index, or BMI. If your BMI is between 18 - 25 you are a normal weight. If your BMI ranges between 25 - 30 you are overweight. If your BMI is over 30 you are considered obese. Our chart below shows the data already calculated for you. Or, if you prefer, we have an Adult BMI Calculator and Chart, as well as a BMI Calculator for Children.
Body mass index (BMI) is the most widely used measure to diagnose obesity. However, the diagnostic accuracy of BMI to detect excess in body adiposity (obesity) is largely unknown. The main issue for using BMI is that regardless of gender and age, the same criteria is used to determine whether one is normal, overweight or obese. However, BMI should be used carefully when determining whether one is obese or not, especially when classifying different categories of people.
BMI does not really accurately tell how much fat a person really has; this is due to the nature that it cannot really differentiate between body fat and muscle mass. This is especially true when BMI were used to measure athletes, a large percentage of them were often considered to be obese, where in actual fact they are not. Many athletes tend to have high BMI due to muscle mass being built up and not due to body fat.
The United States CDC states;
"BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI is moderately correlated with more direct measures of body fat obtained from skinfold thickness measurements, bioelectrical impedance, underwater weighing, dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and other methods. Furthermore, BMI appears to be strongly correlated with various adverse health outcomes consistent with these more direct measures of body fatness." - (www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html)
The chart below is a rough guide that reveals if you are of average BMI and weight, overweight, or are considered to be obese for your height.
|Am I Overweight?|
BMI = 19 to 24
BMI = 25 to 29
BMI = 30 to 39
|4' 10"||91 to 118 lbs.||119 to 142 lbs.||143 to 186 lbs.|
|4' 11"||94 to 123 lbs.||124 to 147 lbs.||148 to 193 lbs.|
|5'||97 to 127 lbs.||128 to 152 lbs.||153 to 199 lbs.|
|5' 1"||100 to 131 lbs.||132 to 157 lbs.||158 to 206 lbs.|
|5' 2"||104 to 135 lbs.||136 to 163 lbs.||164 to 213 lbs.|
|5' 3"||107 to 140 lbs.||141 to 168 lbs.||169 to 220 lbs.|
|5' 4"||110 to 144 lbs.||145 to 173 lbs.||174 to 227 lbs.|
|5' 5"||114 to 149 lbs.||150 to 179 lbs.||180 to 234 lbs.|
|5' 6"||118 to 154 lbs.||155 to 185 lbs.||186 to 241 lbs.|
|5' 7"||121 to 158 lbs.||159 to 190 lbs.||191 to 249 lbs.|
|5' 8"||125 to 163 lbs.||164 to 196 lbs.||197 to 256 lbs.|
|5' 9"||128 to 168 lbs.||169 to 202 lbs.||203 to 263 lbs.|
|5' 10"||132 to 173 lbs.||174 to 208 lbs.||209 to 271 lbs.|
|5' 11"||136 to 178 lbs.||179 to 214 lbs.||215 to 279 lbs.|
|6'||140 to 183 lbs.||184 to 220 lbs.||221 to 287 lbs.|
|6' 1"||144 to 188 lbs.||189 to 226 lbs.||227 to 295 lbs.|
|6' 2"||148 to 193 lbs.||194 to 232 lbs.||233 to 303 lbs.|
|6' 3"||152 to 199 lbs.||200 to 239 lbs.||240 to 311 lbs.|
|6' 4"||156 to 204 lbs.||205 to 245 lbs.||246 to 320 lbs.|
* National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Today the United States ranks as the most obese country in the world. In the average country tracked by the OECD, about 1/5 of the population is obese.
|World Obesity Statistics|
|Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - Data is for 2015 or nearest year.|
Many Americans are in denial about the numbers on the scale, with only half of those who are overweight or obese reporting as such. Which may help explain why a recent Gallup poll found that the obesity rates among American adults is still on the rise! If Americans keep getting heavier at the current rate, 42% of the population will be obese by 2030, a new study says. The increase accounts for an additional 32 million obese Americans and a whopping $549.5 billion in medical expenditures over the same time frame. The data did not include child obesity, so the estimates could be conservative. Obese children typically become obese adults, says America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC), who has proclaimed American obesity to be an "epidemic". The study is published online by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
In June 1998 the American National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced its BMI guidelines, to determine healthy weight, to ensure researchers, dietitians, doctors and government agencies were using the same BMI data classifications.
|BMI Number||Classified As:|
|Less than 18.5||Underweight|
|18.5 to 24.9||Normal|
|25.0 to 29.9||Overweight|
|30.0 to 34.9||Obesity - Class I|
|35.0 to 39.9||Obesity - Class II|
|More than 40.0||Extreme Obesity - Class III|
Current classifications of obesity based on body mass index, waist circumference and other anthropometric measures, although useful for population studies, have important limitations when applied to individuals in clinical practice. Thus, these measures do not provide information on presence or extent of comorbidities or functional limitations that would guide decision making in individuals - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19188927).
The Edmonton obesity staging system (EOSS), is a 5-point ordinal classification system that considers comorbidity and functional status, in predicting mortality in a nationally representative US sample. The Edmonton obesity staging system independently predicted increased mortality even after adjustment for contemporary methods of classifying adiposity. The Edmonton obesity staging system may offer improved clinical utility in assessing obesity-related risk and prioritizing treatment - (http://www.cmaj.ca/content/183/14/E1059).
|Edmonton Obesity Staging System Chart|
|Stage 0||Person has no obesity-related risks (normal blood pressure, glucose levels) or symptoms, psychopathy or limitations.|
|Stage 1||Subclinical risk factors related to obesity are present. A person may have borderline hypertension. There may be mild physical symptoms (aches/pains), psychopathy and limitations.|
|Stage 2||The person has obesity-related chronic diseases and moderate symptoms and limitations.|
|Stage 3||The person has damaged organs and experiences significant limitations.|
|Stage 4||The person has severe disabilities as a result of obesity-related chronic disease(s).|
Generally, obesity is treated with certain lifestyle changes such as diet plans and making exercise routines. Medications and surgeries may also be an option depending on the cause of the obesity, its severity, and the individual's choices. If you have been diagnosed with obesity, contact your doctor to discuss the most current treatment options.