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Obesity Calculator: How Do You Know if You Are Obese or Not?

Obesity Calculator: How Do You Know if You Are Obese or Not?

Obesity is a serious disease that affects more and more people each year. Over time, being obese can lead to problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart problems. Though, how would a person know if they are obese? Is there an obesity calculator that they can use, or would they need to visit their doctor for a diagnosis?

What is Obesity?

Before we talk about using an obesity calculator or finding out if a person is obese or not, we’ll need to address what obesity is.

Having body fat is fairly normal, and it is to be expected. However, if a person’s body fat goes beyond what’s considered healthy, then they might be considered as overweight. Being overweight can pose some health risks, but it’s not as bad as being obese.

If a person is obese1, this means that they have a lot of excess body fat. Obesity is considered as a disease, and it can lead to worse illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and other cardiovascular problems. In addition, the longer a person remains obese, the higher the risk they would have for these diseases.

Obesity also increases the risk of complications from these diseases. A person who has diabetes and obesity is at a high risk of heart disease, the same for those with obesity and hypertension.

This is why it is important for people to know that obesity is a serious matter, and that it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Obesity Calculator: How Do You Compute For Obesity?

The most straightforward way to check for obesity is to look at a person’s BMI or body mass index. Essentially, the BMI measures a person’s weight in relation to their height.

If the resulting ratio shows 25 and below, a person is within their normal BMI2. If the results are between 25 to 30, that means a person is overweight. Having a BMI of 30 or higher means that a person has obesity. This is essentially a quick “obesity calculator” that lets people know if they have obesity.

Though, the BMI isn’t always an exact measure of whether or not a person is obese. This is because weight isn’t always an accurate measure of a person’s body fat percentage.

Fat vs Muscle

If you compare the density of fat versus muscle, fat is less dense compared to muscle tissue. This means that a person who is very muscular, such as an athlete, might weigh more compared to someone with a similar height and build, but not an athlete. The same goes for pregnant women, who can weigh more because of the changes in their body happening during pregnancy3.

People’s genetics can also play a role, as some people might look “fat” but in reality they’re perfectly healthy, and just have different body proportions compared to other people. This is why using the BMI as an obesity calculator isn’t always the best way to check for obesity.

Always Consult Your Doctor

A person’s BMI can be useful as a screening tool. Though, it can’t really accurately gauge a person’s health.

Some other methods of measuring fat that doctors use include measuring skinfold thickness, bioelectrical impedance, underwater weighing, and other methods4. These methods by far can give a person a more accurate measurement of whether a person is obese or not.

Despite a person’s BMI not being an “obesity calculator,” it does serve the purpose of giving a person an idea of whether or not they need to lose some weight. If people are more aware of their current state of health, it could help them become more motivated to make healthier lifestyle changes.

Learn more about Obesity here.

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Sources
  1. Obesity – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20375742, Accessed October 13, 2021
  2. Obesity – signs, symptoms, causes and complications | healthdirect, https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/obesity, Accessed October 13, 2021
  3. Defining Adult Overweight & Obesity | Overweight & Obesity | CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.., Accessed October 13, 2021
  4. Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator – Diabetes Canada, https://www.diabetes.ca/managing-my-diabetes/tools—resources/body-mass-index-(bmi)-calculator, Accessed October 13, 2021
  5. How are obesity & overweight diagnosed? | NICHD – Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/obesity/conditioninfo/diagnosed, Accessed October 13, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Oct 18
Fact Checked by Kristel Lagorza