What Is Overweight and a Healthy Body Weight?

Find out if you're overweight based on guidelines and measurements

What is overweight
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The definition of overweight is having more body weight than is normal for your height. Body mass index (BMI) and charts that define height-to-weight ratios are often used to determine if you are overweight.

What Is Overweight?

Do you know if your body weight is healthy? Or do you suspect that you are overweight? Health experts used to define normal weight and overweight according to height-weight charts.

Now body mass index is more commonly used in many health settings.

You can use an online calculator to figure out your body mass index (BMI). Or you determine your BMI using a simple equation. 

Calculate Your BMI

BMI = (weight in kilograms) ÷  (height in meters)2 

What Is a Healthy Body Weight?

Once you know your BMI you can use this guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to see if your weight falls into a healthy category.

Body Mass Index Scores
BMI ScoreDescription
  >18.5Underweight
  18.5 to 24.9Normal Weight
  25.0 to 29.9Overweight
  30.0 or higherObese

If your body mass index is 25.0 or over, you may be overweight or obese, but not always. BMI does not take age, gender or body composition into account, so it is not accurate for everyone. Body mass index is simply a tool that puts you into a category based on weight, it is not designed to be an accurate measurement tool for health or obesity.

If your weight falls into the overweight or obese category according to the BMI chart, you may use other methods to assess your health and weight. You may choose to measure body fat percent, use waist circumference  or calculate your waist-hip ratio as additional resources when assessing your weight.

How to Lose Body Weight

If your body mass index falls into the overweight or obese category, you might want to slim down to improve your overall health profile. Losing just a small amount of weight can reduce your risk of disease.

So what's the best way to reduce your total body weight? Different methods work for different people, but most experts will tell you that it's best to start with small changes and increase the effort as you make progress. 

  • Surgical methods. If you've tried traditional weight loss strategies without success, you may want to consider surgical methods to lose weight. Talk to your doctor about bariatric surgery if to find out more about risks and benefits.

Sources:

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Assessing Your Weight. Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity . Accessed: December 19, 2015. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk. National Institutes of Health. Accessed: December 19, 2015. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/risk.htm

Shape Up America. Everything You Want to Know About Body Fat. Accessed: December 19, 2015. http://www.shapeup.org/bfl/basics1.html

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