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Overweight

Nearly two out of every three adults in the United States is overweight. There are many ways to determine if a person is overweight.

Experts often rely on a formula called the body mass index to determine if person is overweight. The BMI estimates your level of body fat based on your height and weight.

  • A BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal.
  • Adults with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight. Since the BMI is an estimate, it is not accurate for all people. Some people in this group, such as athletes, may have a lot of muscle weight, and therefore not as much fat. These people will not have an increased risk of health problems due to their weight.
  • Adults with a BMI of 30 to 39.9 are considered obese.
  • Adults with a BMI greater than or equal to 40 kg/m2 are considered extremely obese.
  • Anyone more than 100 pounds overweight is considered morbidly obese.

The risk of many medical problems is higher for adults who have excess body fat and fall into the overweight groups

If you are overweight (or obese):

  • Work with your health care provider and dietitian to set safe daily calorie counts that help you lose weight while staying healthy.
  • Have a plan that helps you drop pounds slowly and steadily. This makes it more likely that you will keep weight off.
  • Talk to your dietitian. They can teach you about healthy food and drink choices, proper portion sizes, and smart snacking.

References

Klein S, Fabbrini E, Romijn JA. Obesity. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 36.

Updated: 8/19/2013

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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