Overweight Vs Obese Overweight Vs Obese



Key Takeaways


  • Overweight and obesity are determined by using the body mass index (BMI), which calculates a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters.

  • Obesity is a more severe form of excessive weight than being overweight, increasing the risk of various health problems like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

  • It's essential to remember that BMI is only a screening tool and doesn't provide a complete picture of an individual's health. Consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial to undergo appropriate tests and lab work to assess one's overall health status.


Overweight and obesity are two categories based on body mass index (BMI), which assesses weight in relation to height. BMI classifies individuals into four groups: underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese. Within the obese category, there are three subcategories: class 1 obesity, class 2 obesity, and class 3 obesity.


People classified as obese have a higher weight-to-height ratio than those in the overweight, healthy weight, and underweight categories. Obesity carries the risk of various health conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Class 3 obesity is mainly associated with an increased likelihood of economic and social disadvantages and a lower quality of life.


This article explores the distinctions between overweight and obesity, provides guidance on calculating BMI, and advises on when to seek medical advice for one's health.


What Is Overweight?

Overweight is a classification based on BMI, which compares body weight to height. Individuals who are overweight have a higher weight-to-height ratio than those in the "healthy weight" and "underweight" ranges but lower than those in the "obese" category.


Adults with a BMI between 25.0 and less than 30 are categorized as overweight. Based on data from 2017-2018, approximately 30.7% of adults in the United States are classified as overweight. The data further indicates that the percentage of overweight adult males slightly exceeds that of overweight adult females.


Unlike adults, children under 18 experience ongoing growth, making it challenging to track their BMI accurately. During puberty, both their height and weight are expected to increase. Additionally, body composition differences vary based on their sex. To assess a child's weight status, their weight is compared to other children in the same age group and sex. Children are considered overweight if their weight falls between the 85th and less than the 95th percentile.

What Is Obesity?

Obesity is the most severe body weight classification determined by BMI. Individuals who are obese have a higher weight-to-height ratio compared to those in the "overweight," "healthy weight," and "underweight" BMI categories.


Adults with a BMI of 30.0 or higher are classified as obese based on the BMI scale. Within the obese category, adults with a BMI between 30 and less than 35 are considered class 1 obese, while those with a BMI between 35 and less than 40 are classified as class 2 obese. Adults with a BMI of 40 or higher fall into the class 3 obese category, also known as "severe" or "morbid" obesity. According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 42.4% of adults in the United States are affected by obesity. Additionally, obesity tends to be slightly more prevalent among adult males than adult females.


As per the National Institute of Health, approximately 19.3% of children in the United States aged 2 to 19 are classified as obese.

Overweight Vs Obese

Overweight and obese are two types of BMI classifications. Individuals with obesity have a higher weight-to-height ratio than those who are overweight. While BMI does not directly measure body fat or composition, people with obesity are at a higher risk of various health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.


A study based on data collected from 1992 to 2002 found that the overweight BMI classification was linked to fewer excess deaths than the underweight and obese classifications.

Calculating BMI

To calculate your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. However, it's crucial to understand that BMI alone is not a dependable indicator of individual health, nor does it assess body fat or composition. Instead, BMI should be viewed as just one tool among many, including blood tests, urine samples, image scans, and more, that can contribute to a more comprehensive assessment of overall health.

What Causes Overweight And Obesity?

Numerous factors can influence a person's weight, with genetics playing a significant role, especially in relation to obesity. A family history of being overweight or obese can heavily influence an individual's body size.


Additional factors that can impact weight include:

  • Level of physical activity or exercise

  • Dietary patterns

  • Sleep habits

  • Medical conditions, including endocrine disorders

  • Living in a food desert (an area with limited access to affordable and nutritious food)

  • Decreased energy metabolism


Health Risks Of Overweight And Obesity

Being overweight or obese can elevate the risk of various physical and mental health conditions and subject individuals to stigmatization. Generally, obesity is more closely linked to these heightened risks.


Here are some of the health risks associated with being overweight and obese:

  • High blood pressure, or hypertension

  • Stroke

  • Kidney disease

  • Certain types of cancer

  • Heart disease

  • Depression

  • Pregnancy complications

  • Fatty liver diseases

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Sleep apnea

  • Gallbladder diseases

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Weight bias and stigma, including from healthcare providers

  • Metabolic syndrome

Seeking Medical Attention For Overweight And Obesity

Although calculating your BMI is a simple process requiring only your height and weight, it should not be relied upon in isolation to determine your health status. It is important to consult with a medical professional to obtain a personalized and comprehensive understanding of your health.


A healthcare provider can assist you in accessing the appropriate tests and screenings that provide a more comprehensive diagnosis of your health status. If weight loss treatment or other interventions are recommended, discussing safe and sustainable strategies with your healthcare provider is advisable. In many instances, losing just 5-10% of your body weight can improve overall health and metabolic factors.

Your healthcare provider may suggest additional treatment strategies, such as:


  1. Nutrition: Adopting a healthy and balanced eating pattern can have long-term benefits for your physical health.

  2. Regular exercise: Engaging in at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week is recommended by experts.

  3. Behavioural therapy: This approach can be particularly useful for individuals with a history of eating disorders, contributing to about 50% of severe obesity cases.

  4. Prescription medications: Certain medications, such as semaglutide (Wegovy), liraglutide (Saxenda), orlistat (Xenical), phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia), naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave), and bremelanotide (IMCIVREE), can aid in supporting weight loss for individuals with overweight and obesity.

  5. Surgery: Weight-loss surgery may be recommended in specific cases. However, it is essential to note that these procedures are irreversible and carry significant risks, including infection, postoperative bleeding, malabsorption, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, cardiac events, and more.


Online Medical Weight Loss

Now, you can manage weight loss online through Mobi Doctor.

Follow these three simple steps to receive care:


  1. Provide your relevant information.

  2. Engage in a conversation with a clinician.

  3. Effectively manage your condition with medication refills, lab tests, and other necessary measures.


Mobi Doctor offers you the convenience of accessing weight loss support from the comfort of your own home.


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