See also: What's a BMI?
Carrying excess weight can put you at a higher risk for high blood pressure, gallstones, breathing problems and certain cancers.
When assessing a person's weight, many doctors use the BMI combined with a waist circumference measurement called the waist-to-hip ratio.
That’s because if most of your fat is around your waist, rather than at your hips, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This risk increases with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men.
People who are obese and have heart-related risk factors (see box below) carry even higher health risks.
Weight loss is strongly recommended for people who are obese. Even a weight loss of just 5 percent to 10 percent of your current weight will help lower your risk of developing diseases.
A reasonable and safe weight loss is one to two pounds per week.
One way to determine your desirable body weight is to use the following formula:
- Women: 100 pounds of body weight for the first five feet of height plus five pounds for each additional inch.
- Men: 106 pounds of body weight for the first five feet of height plus six pounds for each additional inch.
But if you have a small body frame, you should subtract 10 percent from that number. For a large frame, 10 percent should be added.
While genetics, medical conditions and other factors often have a significant effect on weight, being physically active and eating a balanced diet can help you achieve a healthier weight.
If weight loss is advisable for you, consult a dietician, doctor or other health care provider.