At a glance
- Obesity affects billions of people around the world and is a risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, cancers and more.
- To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared — over 25 may be overweight, and over 30 obese.
- Your waist circumference is also used to measure obesity — over 40 inches for a man and 35 inches for a woman is considered obese.
According to the World Health Organisation, worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. It’s one of the leading causes of preventable deaths across the globe, and is showing no sign of slowing down. In this fact sheet you can learn why obesity is so dangerous, and how to calculate whether your weight is considered overweight or obese. So you can take steps to lose weight and be healthier if you need.
The dangers of obesity
Obesity is a chronic disorder affecting over a billion men and women around the world. Caused by a complex variety of reasons, it’s a major risk factor for serious health problems, including:
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Certain types of cancer.
Overweight people are also at high risk of depression, job discrimination, and other social problems. But most worrying of all, research indicates that seriously overweight people have a shortened life expectancy. Obesity leads to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths every year, and places a huge financial burden on health care. In some countries, it’s the second most common form of preventable death after smoking.
Measuring obesity using BMI
To work out whether or not someone is obese, doctors calculate their body mass index (BMI). BMI is not a perfect measurement because it doesn’t take into account a person’s fat-to-muscle ratio (muscle takes up less space but weighs more than fat). However, it is considered reliable for assessing overweight populations. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. If your BMI is 25-29.9, you are considered overweight but not obese. An adult with a BMI of 30 or greater is said to be obese. Obesity would most likely be diagnosed in the following cases:
- A 6 foot tall person who weighs 221 lbs.
- A 5 foot, 5 inch tall person who weighs 180 lbs.
An adult whose BMI is 40 or above, or who is 100 lbs overweight, is considered severely (morbidly) obese. Severe obesity would be diagnosed in the following cases:
- A 5 foot, 3 inch tall person who weighs 226 lbs.
- A 6 foot, 1 inch person who weighs 303 lbs.
Measuring obesity using your waist circumference
Another measurement you can use to measure obesity is your waist circumference. This is because excess abdominal fat can be a predictor of disease risk. If a man’s waist circumference is more than 40 inches, or a woman’s more than 35 inches, they are considered to be at greater risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease. If you are worried that you may be overweight, ask your doctor to calculate your BMI or to measure your waist. It’s important to distinguish between being overweight and obese when putting together a weight-loss plan. Once your doctor has assessed your weight they will be able to advise you on your next steps.
If you’re concerned that your health may be at risk from obesity, ask your doctor to calculate your BMI or measure your waist circumference. That will help you to work out a healthy weight loss plan if you need. And you have to follow Regular Health Checkup on prior basis 2 times a year.