Am I Obese?

You may be wondering, "Am I obese?" When men have a body fat percentage greater than 25 percent and women have a body fat percentage greater than 30, they are considered obese. One way of measuring body fat is by calculating your body mass index (BMI). Healthcare providers often use BMI, along with waist circumference, to determine a person's risk for certain medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

What Is Considered "Obese?"

Obesity is a term that refers to an excessive amount of body fat. Men are considered obese when they have a body fat percentage greater than 25 percent. Women are considered obese when they have a body fat percentage greater than 30 percent.
 
There are several ways to obtain an accurate measurement of body fat. However, most are expensive and are not widely available, so healthcare providers often estimate a person's weight status by calculating the body mass index, or BMI. This calculation does not directly measure body fat, so it does have some limitations. However, for most people, it gives an accurate indication of weight status.
 
(Click BMI Calculator or BMI Chart to find your BMI.)
 
The BMI is calculated using a person's height and weight. Based on these standards, a person with a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese, and a person with a BMI of 40 or higher is considered morbidly obese. Do not confuse the BMI number with body fat. A BMI of 30, for example, does not represent a body fat of 30 percent.
 
Healthcare providers are able to use the BMI number, along with waist circumference, to determine a person's risk for developing certain medical conditions. These conditions can include high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, and heart disease.
 
Disease Risk Relative to Normal Weight and Waist Circumference
 
 
BMI
Obesity Class
Men 102 cm (40 in) or less
Men greater than 102 cm (40 in)
 
 
Women 88 cm (35 in) or less
Women greater than 88 cm (35 in)
Obesity
30.0 - 34.9
I
High
Very high
 
35.0 - 39.9
II
Very high
Very high
Morbid obesity
40.0 +
III
Extremely high
Extremely high
 
 
 
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