What is the difference between the terms overweight and obesity? And, why should I care? Or, perhaps they’re the same? The answer is this: they are the same in some ways and different in other ways. Let’s take a look.
Obesity and overweight are the same in that both indicate weight which can be harmful to health. Both can lead to the development of serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Both conditions are determined by a calculation called the body mass index (abbreviated BMI).
The body mass index is one of the tools used to define whether someone is”merely” overweight, or whether that person is obese, or even morbidly (severely) obese. The results of the BMI look like this:
- Overweight means that the BMI measurement is between 25 and 29.9.
- Obese indicates a BMI of 30 to 39.9.
- Morbid obesity is the diagnosis if the BMI is over 40. (This usually means an individual is 100 pounds or more overweight.)
So, how do you get your own BMI number? There are three ways:
1. Hardest: Get pencil and paper (or a calculator) and follow this formula:
– BMI = Mass (kg)/height (m))squared or
– Mass (lb) X 703/height (m))squared
2. Easier: Ask your health care provider to calculate it for you.
3. Easiest: Go to any BMI calculator site. Plug in your height and weight and…voila! You now know your BMI.
Is the BMI calculation reliable under all conditions? No. The BMI provides solid information for the average person…one whose “bulk” is not composed of an unusual amount of muscle. For example, if one is a rugby player, or a body builder, the BMI will not provide correct information because the muscle weight of the individual is out of the ordinary. He may show a BMI of 44 (which would indicate morbid obesity). However, it is because of muscle mass that the calculation is disordered.
So, if you are a football linebacker, go polish your helmet or something. The BMI isn’t for you. However, because the vast majority of us do not fall into that category, the BMI is a safe, easy, and reliable method for determining the seriousness of our weight issue. So those who do fall under this category i.e overweight or obesity may control their weight by doing some of the daily routine works physically rather than taking the help of machine, for e.g. Washing the clothes, or cleaning the house, because this is the best method of losing the calorie.
If you think that you have gained some weight and afraid of having obesity or overweight then BMI is the best method to judge yourself, and if there is a symptom of obesity persist, then start physical work as soon as possible, instead of going on medication later.
One word of caution: don’t apply this same BMI calculation to children. Their bodies are still growing and their nutritional needs are very different from those of adults. Consult your health care provider if you feel your child is overweight.