How Do I Know If I'm Overweight?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Woman measuring her waist with a tape measure

When trying to figure out whether you are overweight or obese, there are two key pieces of information to have. These are your body mass index (BMI) and your waist circumference.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
The most common way to measure whether you are overweight or obese is body mass index—also known as BMI.  BMI uses your weight and height to estimate your body make-up. Use this calculator Exit disclaimerto find your BMI and then check the numbers below to figure out your weight category.

  • Below 18.5 is underweight

  • 18.5 - 24.9 is normal weight

  • 25.0 - 29.9 is overweight

  • 30.0 or higher is obese

Waist Circumference
BMI doesn’t tell the whole story. It doesn’t directly measure body fat, and some research suggests that where you store fat —especially how much you store around your waist— matters for your health. So, it’s also important to consider your waist size.

To measure your waist size (circumference), place a tape measure around your bare stomach just above your hip bone. Be sure that the tape measure is snug (without pinching your skin) and lines up parallel to the floor (like in the article image). Relax, exhale, and measure your waist.

What can I do if my BMI or waist circumference are high?
If your BMI suggests that you are overweight or obese OR your waist size is greater than 35 inches, your weight may be putting your health at risk. Talk to your doctor. He or she will probably recommend that you make lifestyle changes to reduce your weight or prevent further weight gain. 



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