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How will I know if I'm overweight or obese?

Elizabeth Casparro, MPH,RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most common way to determine if someone is overweight or obese. You simply take your height in inches and divide by your weight in pounds squared and multiple by 704.5. If you are between 18.5 and 24.9, you are a healthy weight. If you are between 25 and 29.9, then you are overweight. A BMI of greater than or equal to 30 is considered obese. The main concern with using BMI is that it does not account for muscle mass, so many body builders and athletes would be considered overweight or obese by this standard.

Find out your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. People with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight. People with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center

James P. Ioli, DPM
Podiatric Medicine
What determines whether you're overweight or obese isn't the bathroom scale, but rather a scientific calculation of weight in relation to height called the body mass index, or BMI. More than two-thirds of American adults are either overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 29) or obese (with a BMI of 30 or higher), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
John La Puma
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
In the United States, 74% of men and 68% of women are overweight or obese, and the rest of the world is rapidly catching up. Most of us don’t know where we fall. Here are some simple weight guidelines for both men and women:

- If you’re 5 feet 10 inches tall: Normal weight is 132 to 167 pounds; overweight is 172 to 202 pounds; obese is 209 to 236 pounds; severely obese starts at 243 pounds; morbidly obese starts at 278 pounds.

- If you’re 5 feet 5 inches tall: Normal weight is 114 to 144 pounds; overweight 150 to 174 pounds; obese is 180 to 204 pounds; severely obese starts at 210 pounds; morbidly obese starts at 240 pounds.
How do people know if they’re obese? Body mass index (BMI) is a reliable indicator. A BMI above 25 is considered overweight, and above 30 is obese. BMI is not perfect -- for example, a pro athlete with very high muscle mass may have a high BMI without being overweight -- but for the general population, it is a good guideline.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.