Obesity

It is a condition characterized by an excessive accumulation of body fat. It has many negative impacts on health. If a person’s bodyweight is 20% higher than it should be, he/she is considered to obese.

The term obese describes a person who’s very overweight, with a lot of body fat.It’s a common problem in the UK that’s estimated to affect around 1 in every 4 adults and around 1 in every 5 children aged 10 to 11.

Defining obesity

There are many ways in which a person’s health in relation to their weight can be classified, but the most widely used method is body mass index (BMI).

BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height. You can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your score.

For most adults, a BMI of:

  • 18.5 to 24.9 means you’re a healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight
  • 30 to 39.9 means you’re obese
  • 40 or above means you’re severely obese

BMI isn’t used to definitively diagnose obesity because people who are very muscular sometimes have a high BMI without excess fat.

But for most people, BMI is a useful indication of whether they’re a healthy weight, overweight or obese.

A better measure of excess fat is waist circumference, which can be used as an additional measure in people who are overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 29.9) or moderately obese (with a BMI of 30 to 34.9).

Generally, men with a waist circumference of 94cm (37in) or more and women with a waist circumference of 80cm (about 31.5in) or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems. (Source: NHS-UK)