What Does it Mean to be Overweight?

Being overweight is more than just having a spare tire around your waist, or having a couple of extra pounds that you would like to lose. Overweight isn’t a subjective term with a loose definition. There’s a weight range that is considered healthy for a given height, and anything over that healthy range is considered overweight, or obese.

Body Mass Index – or BMI – is calculated based on your height and your weight, and is the metric used to determine whether you are underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a body mass calculator that can help you determine which range you fall in.

  • A BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight for adults.
  • A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy weight for adults.
  • A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight for adults.
  • A BMI over 30 is considered obese for adults.

The majority of Arkansans are overweight by these standards, and 35.9% are obese — the highest percentage of any state in the nation. Overweight and obesity can lead to long term health complications. Here are a few health risks of being overweight:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Health problems for the mother and baby during pregnancy

It’s important to recognize, however, that your BMI isn’t a precise measure of your overall health. It’s meant to measure body fatness, but does not indicate wellness, and should certainly not substitute for professional medical advice. People come in different shapes and sizes.

Of course you can take action to help manage your weight and reduce your risk of health complications. A healthy diet and plenty of exercise is a great place to start, and regular physician check-ups are extremely important to your health.

There is absolutely no replacement for a primary care physician. Because people are unique, with different health histories, health needs, and genetic dispositions, health advice cannot be universal. Your health needs will be different than your neighbor’s health needs, and they may even be different from your family’s. Schedule an appointment with a MANA clinic today to get on a path to wellness.