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Risk factors for becoming obese
Diagnosing obesity
Complications of obesity
Treating Obesity
Obesity Causes

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Diagnosing Obesity

      There are several measures of evaluation used to diagnose whether a person is obese. The most popular and generally accepted measure in the Body Mass Index (BMI), followed by waist circumference.

Body mass index (BMI)

The BMI uses a formula of weight and height in order to measure body fat. BMI measurements are as follows:

Healthy weight - BMI between 18.5-24.9
Overweight - BMI between 25-29.9
Obese - BMI 30 or higher

If your BMI is above 25, and particularly if it is above 30, you should consult with your doctor about a weight loss program suitable for you.

Waist circumference

Waist circumference is a measured in inches. People have different body shapes. Those who carry most of their body fat around the waist or the upper body are referred to as 'apple shaped'. Those who carry most of their body fat around the hips, thighs and lower body are referred to as 'pear shaped'. When considering body shape and excess weight, most experts agree that it is better to be pear shaped than apple shaped. Those with an apple shape carry the majority of their excess weight around their abdominal region (potbelly or 'spare tire') and this increases the risks associated with a number of the serious health conditions relating to obesity.

Waist circumference for women should be below 35 inches.

Waist circumference for men should be below 40 inches.

If your waist circumference is above what it should be, consult with your doctor about a weight loss program tailored to your weight loss requirements.

See a doctor

The BMI and Waist circumference are very useful evaluation tools to determine whether you need to loose weight and how much you need to lose. Reviewing your complete medical history, including your family's medical history, with your doctor can help to determine how dangerous excess weight is to your health. As well, how much alcohol you consume, whether or not you're a smoker and the extent to which you experience and react to the stress in your life can be significant factors that contribute to how dangerous excess weight is for you. Regular visits to your doctor are recommended.

The American Obesity Association offers excellent advice, information and resources for all those fighting obesity. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health offers excellent articles and research on obesity and health issues. Use the search box to access obesity related information.

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