History of Obesity Statistics

WHO and IOTF Recommendations

In 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended a classification for three "grades" of overweight using BMI cutoff points of 25, 30, and 40. The International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) suggested an additional cutoff point of 35 and slightly different terminology.

National Institutes of Health Recommendations

The expert panel convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a report in June 1998 that provided definitions for overweight and obesity similar to those used by the World Health Organization. The panel identified overweight as a BMI between 25 and 30, and obesity as a BMI greater than 30. These definitions, widely used by the federal government and increasingly by the broader medical and scientific communities, are based on evidence that health risks increase more steeply in individuals with a BMI greater than 25.
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