What Does It Really Mean to Be Overweight?

Obesity is an ever increasing problem in the US now-a-days. Studies show that over 66 percent of Americans can be categorized as either fat or obese, and the medical community is even going so far as to call it an epidemic. However, with today’s aesthetic standards as portrayed by the media and the fashion community, it can be very tough to decipher what is actually a healthy weight. No doctor would recommend trying to be stick-thin, but we all know that obesity is dangerous to the health. So, where is that healthy midline? What, exactly, does it mean to the general public to be “overweight?” Here are the plain facts:

Overweight

Overweight (Photo credit: just.Luc)

The definition. Being overweight means weighing more than what is healthy. This amount varies from person to person, as it depends on factors that are unique to each person’s build. Therefore, what is overweight for you might not be overweight for someone else.

Overweight compared to being obese. It is important that you understand that overweight does not necessarily mean obese. Healthy (or unhealthy) body weight is graded on a scale, including the categories of “normal weight,” “overweight,” “obese,” and “morbidly obese.” Each level has its own set of qualifying factors and, of course, morbidly obese is the most dangerous. Being overweight means being one step above normal weight, one step below obese, and two steps below morbidly obese.

What factors are used to determine overweight? Your body mass index (BMI) is used to determine where you are categorized on the health/morbidly-obese scale. Your BMI is a measure of your body’s composition, accounting for how much you weigh in relation to your height. There are various different methods to calculate BMI. The simplest is to use an online BMI calculator, but for the most exact figure, it is a good idea to see a doctor or nutritionist. If your BMI falls between 25 and 30, you are generally considered overweight. However, it is important to keep in mind that BMI has no way of accounting for your muscle to fat ratio. This ratio can make a major difference in your overall health, and therefore can change your status as overweight. For example, if you are a serious athlete with a lot of muscle, you may weigh more than someone else your height who is at a “normal” weight, but that doesn’t mean you are overweight.

Overweight is a term that is used loosely, which makes it confusing when determining whether or not you fit into that category. Your best bet is to consult with your doctor to figure out if you are overweight, and if you could benefit from lowering your BMI.

About the Author: Tommye Lounder is a health and wellness specialist who specializes in educating people about their bodies. He enjoys researching common medical conditions, including candida expert opinions, heart health, addictions, and the body’s metabolism.