Am I Obese?

Reviewed Nov 22, 2017

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Summary

Carrying excess weight can have health consequences, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes

How much do I have to weigh to be described as obese?

The term obese is a medical term, not a derogatory one. It is not meant to shame anyone, but to point out that the person is carrying more fat cells on his frame than he should.

We maintain a healthy weight by having the right balance of bone, muscle, and fat, as a result of the food we eat and the calories we burn through activity. If we consume more calories than we spend, those calories are saved in fat cells for our bodies to use at a later time.

Causes of weight gain

Those fat cells conserve energy and allow us to save up for a famine or surprise attack, if we face one. Maybe we needed those reserves when we lived in caves and feared the animals roaming around outside, but now it is hard for some of us to get through the day without eating and drinking more than we need. And, as technology makes our work easier, we burn fewer calories.

Every time we choose to drive instead of walk, sit instead of stand, or let someone do a chore for us when we could do it ourselves, we miss a chance to burn some of that stored energy. The more we save, the more fat cells we put in the bank. If we’re not careful, eventually we have far more calories saved than any emergency will call for.

When we stand on a scale, we find out what our bones, muscle, water, and fat weigh at any given moment. That weight will vary during the day and week. If we are tall, our bones will weigh more than those of a short person. If we tend to retain fluid, our weight may change dramatically over a short time.

In general, we need to lose weight when we have more fat cells than we need for emergencies, which means the balance of weight from bones, muscle, water, and fat is out of whack.

Body mass index

Body mass index (BMI) calculators can help us determine if we are underweight, overweight, obese, morbidly obese, or just the right weight, compared to a healthy weight for our height.

Basically, BMI calculators look at your height and weight to determine your overall BMI. Some calculators also figure in your sex, waist size, and age, because there are differences between adults and teens, men and women, and active and inactive people.

A doctor might want to get a better reading, using more complex and costly tools. You might be weighed in a tank of water, for example, or he might measure the depth of fat under skin in certain parts of your body. But, if you just want an idea of where you stand in relation to the general population, a BMI calculator will be enough.

You can find a BMI calculator at the American Heart Association’s  website. Once you have a number, you will know if you need to start losing some of that weight.

Basically, if a person has a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9, she is considered overweight. If the BMI is over 30.0, he is obese, putting him 20 percent or more above the normal weight for his height. A morbidly obese person has a BMI of 40 or higher, and may weigh 50 percent to 100 percent above normal.

Health risks of excess weight

If you are obese or just overweight, you still have a high risk of health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Arthritis
  • Breathing problems
  • Some cancers, including breast and colon

If you are shaped more like an apple than a pear, have a pot belly or a “spare tire” around your middle, your risk is the highest in the overweight category.

Research shows that too much fat around the waist works like a separate organ to send out hormones and other signals telling the body it is under attack. These signals set off chemicals that can harm your body in many ways. When you lose weight in a healthy and balanced way, you can reduce this problem and feel better.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/facts.htm

National Institute of Mental Health
www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx

Obesity Society
www.obesity.org

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Marsha Marcus, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Judith Matz, LCSW, therapist specializing in treating eating disorders, author of The Diet Survivor’s Handbook:60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self Care, Skokie, IL.
Reviewed by Romeo Purugganan, MD, DABPN, Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Carrying excess weight can have health consequences, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes

How much do I have to weigh to be described as obese?

The term obese is a medical term, not a derogatory one. It is not meant to shame anyone, but to point out that the person is carrying more fat cells on his frame than he should.

We maintain a healthy weight by having the right balance of bone, muscle, and fat, as a result of the food we eat and the calories we burn through activity. If we consume more calories than we spend, those calories are saved in fat cells for our bodies to use at a later time.

Causes of weight gain

Those fat cells conserve energy and allow us to save up for a famine or surprise attack, if we face one. Maybe we needed those reserves when we lived in caves and feared the animals roaming around outside, but now it is hard for some of us to get through the day without eating and drinking more than we need. And, as technology makes our work easier, we burn fewer calories.

Every time we choose to drive instead of walk, sit instead of stand, or let someone do a chore for us when we could do it ourselves, we miss a chance to burn some of that stored energy. The more we save, the more fat cells we put in the bank. If we’re not careful, eventually we have far more calories saved than any emergency will call for.

When we stand on a scale, we find out what our bones, muscle, water, and fat weigh at any given moment. That weight will vary during the day and week. If we are tall, our bones will weigh more than those of a short person. If we tend to retain fluid, our weight may change dramatically over a short time.

In general, we need to lose weight when we have more fat cells than we need for emergencies, which means the balance of weight from bones, muscle, water, and fat is out of whack.

Body mass index

Body mass index (BMI) calculators can help us determine if we are underweight, overweight, obese, morbidly obese, or just the right weight, compared to a healthy weight for our height.

Basically, BMI calculators look at your height and weight to determine your overall BMI. Some calculators also figure in your sex, waist size, and age, because there are differences between adults and teens, men and women, and active and inactive people.

A doctor might want to get a better reading, using more complex and costly tools. You might be weighed in a tank of water, for example, or he might measure the depth of fat under skin in certain parts of your body. But, if you just want an idea of where you stand in relation to the general population, a BMI calculator will be enough.

You can find a BMI calculator at the American Heart Association’s  website. Once you have a number, you will know if you need to start losing some of that weight.

Basically, if a person has a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9, she is considered overweight. If the BMI is over 30.0, he is obese, putting him 20 percent or more above the normal weight for his height. A morbidly obese person has a BMI of 40 or higher, and may weigh 50 percent to 100 percent above normal.

Health risks of excess weight

If you are obese or just overweight, you still have a high risk of health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Arthritis
  • Breathing problems
  • Some cancers, including breast and colon

If you are shaped more like an apple than a pear, have a pot belly or a “spare tire” around your middle, your risk is the highest in the overweight category.

Research shows that too much fat around the waist works like a separate organ to send out hormones and other signals telling the body it is under attack. These signals set off chemicals that can harm your body in many ways. When you lose weight in a healthy and balanced way, you can reduce this problem and feel better.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/facts.htm

National Institute of Mental Health
www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx

Obesity Society
www.obesity.org

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Marsha Marcus, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Judith Matz, LCSW, therapist specializing in treating eating disorders, author of The Diet Survivor’s Handbook:60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self Care, Skokie, IL.
Reviewed by Romeo Purugganan, MD, DABPN, Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Carrying excess weight can have health consequences, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes

How much do I have to weigh to be described as obese?

The term obese is a medical term, not a derogatory one. It is not meant to shame anyone, but to point out that the person is carrying more fat cells on his frame than he should.

We maintain a healthy weight by having the right balance of bone, muscle, and fat, as a result of the food we eat and the calories we burn through activity. If we consume more calories than we spend, those calories are saved in fat cells for our bodies to use at a later time.

Causes of weight gain

Those fat cells conserve energy and allow us to save up for a famine or surprise attack, if we face one. Maybe we needed those reserves when we lived in caves and feared the animals roaming around outside, but now it is hard for some of us to get through the day without eating and drinking more than we need. And, as technology makes our work easier, we burn fewer calories.

Every time we choose to drive instead of walk, sit instead of stand, or let someone do a chore for us when we could do it ourselves, we miss a chance to burn some of that stored energy. The more we save, the more fat cells we put in the bank. If we’re not careful, eventually we have far more calories saved than any emergency will call for.

When we stand on a scale, we find out what our bones, muscle, water, and fat weigh at any given moment. That weight will vary during the day and week. If we are tall, our bones will weigh more than those of a short person. If we tend to retain fluid, our weight may change dramatically over a short time.

In general, we need to lose weight when we have more fat cells than we need for emergencies, which means the balance of weight from bones, muscle, water, and fat is out of whack.

Body mass index

Body mass index (BMI) calculators can help us determine if we are underweight, overweight, obese, morbidly obese, or just the right weight, compared to a healthy weight for our height.

Basically, BMI calculators look at your height and weight to determine your overall BMI. Some calculators also figure in your sex, waist size, and age, because there are differences between adults and teens, men and women, and active and inactive people.

A doctor might want to get a better reading, using more complex and costly tools. You might be weighed in a tank of water, for example, or he might measure the depth of fat under skin in certain parts of your body. But, if you just want an idea of where you stand in relation to the general population, a BMI calculator will be enough.

You can find a BMI calculator at the American Heart Association’s  website. Once you have a number, you will know if you need to start losing some of that weight.

Basically, if a person has a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9, she is considered overweight. If the BMI is over 30.0, he is obese, putting him 20 percent or more above the normal weight for his height. A morbidly obese person has a BMI of 40 or higher, and may weigh 50 percent to 100 percent above normal.

Health risks of excess weight

If you are obese or just overweight, you still have a high risk of health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Arthritis
  • Breathing problems
  • Some cancers, including breast and colon

If you are shaped more like an apple than a pear, have a pot belly or a “spare tire” around your middle, your risk is the highest in the overweight category.

Research shows that too much fat around the waist works like a separate organ to send out hormones and other signals telling the body it is under attack. These signals set off chemicals that can harm your body in many ways. When you lose weight in a healthy and balanced way, you can reduce this problem and feel better.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/facts.htm

National Institute of Mental Health
www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx

Obesity Society
www.obesity.org

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Marsha Marcus, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Judith Matz, LCSW, therapist specializing in treating eating disorders, author of The Diet Survivor’s Handbook:60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self Care, Skokie, IL.
Reviewed by Romeo Purugganan, MD, DABPN, Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical or health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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