Obesity is normally evaluated by measuring your BMI (body mass index), waist circumference, and evaluating the presence of risk factors.
Obesity is caused when the amount of energy (food) taken in to the body outweighs the amount of energy used (exercise) over a long period. Excessive body weight has been shown to cause various diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type 2 and osteoarthritis. Obesity is both an individual condition and is increasingly viewed as a serious public health problem, as the number of obese adults and children is growing every year.
BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a simple method for estimating your body fat and is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters (BMI = kg / m2).
The current definitions commonly in use establish the following:
If you’re BMI is less than 18.5 you are underweight
If you’re BMI is between 18.5 & 24.9 you are at a normal weight
If you’re BMI is between 25.0 & 29.9 you are considered to be overweight
If you’re BMI is between 30.0 & 39.9 you are considered to be obese
If you’re BMI is 40.0 or over you are considered to be morbidly obese
BMI as an indicator of a clinical condition is used together with other clinical practices, such as waist circumference. Doctors take into account race, ethnicity, muscle mass, age, sex, and other factors which can affect the results of BMI. BMI overestimates body fat in persons who are very muscular, and it can underestimate body fat in persons who have lost body mass.
Body fat measurement
Another way to find out about your obesity is to assess your percentage of body fat. Doctors reckon that men with more than 25% body fat and women with more than 30% body fat are obese. However, it is not easy to measure body fat accurately. A simple method for measuring body fat is the skin fold test, in which a pinch of skin is measured to determine the thickness of the fat layer.
The presence of risk factors and diseases associated with obesity are also used to establish a clinical diagnosis. Coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnoea are possible life-threatening risk factors that would indicate clinical treatment of obesity. Smoking, hypertension, age and family history are other risk factors that may indicate treatment. Diabetes and heart disease are risk factors used in epidemiological studies of obesity.
Keeping fit and healthy is a key to reducing the risk of overweight and obesity. Healthy choices like having a healthy breakfast, eating foods which provide good nutrition, an intake of healthy calories and generally developing healthy eating habits are the remedy to overweight and obesity.