Overweight and obesity are defined medically as the accumulation of excess fat in the body. The percentage of excess fat compared to the estimated ideal body weight determines whether a person is overweight or obese. This amount is estimated using the body mass index (BMI), which is a mathematical formula and screening tool that compares height and weight. It is not an exact measure of excess fat, but, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is a simple and reliable estimate of “body fatness” for most adults. BMI is defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (BMI=kg/m²).
The formula is converted to pounds and inches as weight divided by height squared, multiplied by 704.5 (BMI=(lb/in2) x 704.5). For example, a person who is 60 inches (1.5 meters) tall and weighs 112 pounds (50.8 kilograms) would have a BMI of 22. A BMI under 25 is considered a normal weight. If that same person weighed 133 pounds (60.3 kg), he or she would have a BMI of 26 and be considered overweight. Overweight is defined as a BMI between 25 and 29.9. If the person weighed 168 pounds (76 kg), he or she would have a BMI of 33 and test as obese. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.
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What Is BMI
BMI is a relatively accurate assessment of body weight in adults, but it is inaccurate for children and teens because they are still growing. In the case of young people under about age 20, a BMI assessment must take into account age and gender, as well as height and weight. Healthy weight in young people can change from month to month as they grow, and it definitely changes from year to year. As an example, a boy with a BMI of 23 might be obese at age 10, but a healthy weight if he is 15.
BMI for children and teens is calculated as it is for adults, but then compared to percentile charts of average height and weight at different ages for boys and girls. A young person with a BMI at or above the 95th percentile is considered obese. This means his or her BMI is higher than 95% of all people of that sex and age. Young people with BMIs between the 85th and 95th percentiles are overweight.
Around the world, the WHO estimates that at least 22 million children under the age of 5 are overweight. In India like much of the developed countries, obesity is becoming a growing problem. Because overweight youth are likely to become overweight or obese adults, many nutritional and medical experts are particularly concerned about the health risks associated with childhood and teen overnutrition. These experts believe that early onset of obesity puts these young people at grave risk of disability and premature death in the future. In addition, many young people are developing obesity-related diseases that used to occur only in middle-aged or older adults.
Obese And In Danger
When a person is 100 pounds (45.3 kg) or more over his or her ideal body weight, the condition is referred to as morbid obesity. This is a serious disease. Morbid obesity may also be defined as a BMI of 40 or greater, or as a BMI between 35 and 40 if accompanied by a serious medical problem, such as heart disease, diabetes, or joint pain. A BMI between 45 and 50 is severe morbid obesity. A BMI between 50 and 60 is super-morbid obesity. A BMI greater than 60 is super-super morbid obesity.
People with morbid obesity are at great risk of medical problems and disease if they do not lose weight. If they cannot reduce their weight by any other means, they are often eligible for bariatric surgery. This is weight-loss surgery in which the stomach and intestines are permanently modified.
Surgery Techniques For Obesity
Gastric bypass is one type of bariatric surgery. First, a small pouch is created at the top of the stomach by stapling it off from the rest of the stomach. Then the small intestine is cut so that its first section is no longer connected to the rest of the digestive system. The second section of the small intestine is sewn directly to the stomach pouch.
The pouch is tiny—about the size of a walnut—and can hold only about 1 ounce (28 grams) of food. Calorie absorption also is limited by disconnecting, or bypassing, the first part of the small intestine. Many people experience drastic weight loss with gastric bypass surgery and vastly improve their health, but the risk of malnutrition is high. People take dietary supplements for life and learn a special diet that emphasizes proteins first.
Another bariatric procedure is called lap-band adjustable gastric banding. In this procedure, the doctor partitions the stomach into two parts with a flexible band or belt that creates only a tiny opening between the two parts of the stomach. This can make people feel full after very small meals. It is a simpler procedure than gastric bypass, but weight loss is not as extreme. In both cases, people who are not completely committed to the weight-loss program can overcome the procedures, gradually stretch their new stomachs, and regain weight. Neither procedure is a miracle cure for obesity, and people have to change their lifestyles permanently to achieve lasting good health and prevent disease.
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About The Author
Dr. Leroy Rebello is a well established and internationally qualified anti-aging consultant and cosmetologist from Mumbai and a director in Eternesse – the best skin clinic in Mumbai. He lectures in reputed Institutions such as AIIMS, JIPMER and other Medical Colleges around India. With over 10 Research Papers published in Indexed Journals, Dr. Rebello is continuously researching and developing new treatments and cures.