The term overweight refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. The excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, or body water. Obesity refers specifically to having an abnormally high proportion of body fat. A person can be overweight without being obese, as in the example of a bodybuilder or other athlete who has a lot of muscle. However, many people who are overweight are also obese.
How are overweight and obesity measured?
A number of methods are used to determine if someone is overweight or obese. Some are based on the relation between height and weight; others are based on measurements of body fat. The most commonly used method today is Body Mass Index (BMI).
BMI can be used to screen for both overweight and obesity in adults. It is the measurement of choice for many obesity researchers and other health professionals. BMI is calculated based on height and weight, and it is not gender-specific. Check your Body Mass Index (BMI).
Individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, while individuals with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese.
What are the health consequences of being overweight or obese?
- Poor heart health (including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke and congestive heart failure)
- Type 2 Diabetes and other insulin-related illnesses
- Diseases of the gallbladder
- Some types of cancer (such as endometrial, breast, prostate and colon)
- Osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bone of joints)
- Difficulty getting adequate sleep due to sleep apnea
- Poor female reproductive health (such as menstrual irregularities, infertility, irregular ovulation and pregnancy complications
- Psychological disorders (such as depression, eating disorders, distorted body image and low self esteem)