There is sometimes ambiguity surrounding the definition of the word “obesity,” which is used frequently. Does it apply to everybody who is overweight or needs to drop some weight? Or does it go beyond that? Both the phrase “overweight” and “obesity” have medical definitions.
Overweight: What Is It?
Based on body mass index, overweight is defined medically (BMI). Since BMI is expressed in kilograms per square meter, both height and weight must be entered into the formula.
A BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2 is considered overweight.
1 A BMI that falls between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal. One is considered underweight if their BMI is under 18.5.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is an outmoded, unreliable indicator. It disregards elements including age, race, sex, ethnicity, and physical composition.
BMI is still frequently employed in the medical industry despite being a biased assessment since it is a quick and affordable approach to assessing a person’s probable health status and consequences.
The term “overweight” is now used in medical terminology both as an adjective and as a noun (as in “obesity and overweight”). Such language has the effect of emphasizing that obesity and being overweight are symptoms of a disease process; more on that later.
You can calculate your BMI with our calculator.
Obesity: What Is It?
The BMI calculation determines the medical definition of obesity, just like it does for being overweight. A patient must have a BMI of 30.0 or more to be considered obese. 1? National standards advise using a BMI cutoff of 40.0 or higher, which is sometimes referred to as “morbid obesity,” to determine whether patients may be candidates for bariatric surgery.
Naturally, it should be mentioned that some highly muscular athletes may have a high BMI that is caused by their higher muscle weight rather than by body fat. BMI is therefore meant to be a small component of a larger clinical evaluation.
Why Is It Important?
Numerous studies have demonstrated that as BMI rises, there is an increased risk of both poorer health outcomes (in terms of conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, high blood pressure, and others) as well as overall premature death.
2 Additionally, the clinical definition of obesity—a BMI of 30.0 or higher—is frequently utilized to choose the best course of action.
Insurance coverage and the kinds of treatments that might be deemed medically essential are also affected. The American Medical Association (AMA) formally recognized obesity as a disease in 2013, stating that it “requires the medical care, research, and education attention of other important worldwide medical disorders” due to its tremendous humanitarian and economic impact. 3
The American College of Cardiology (ACCF), The Obesity Society (TOS), and the American Heart Association (AHA) also released new, eagerly awaited obesity guidelines in 2013, which were titled “2013 ACCF/AHA/TOS Guideline for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults.”
In addition to increasing public awareness of the issue, the official recognition of obesity as a chronic condition is anticipated to have an impact on policy at all levels. Third-party payers may be more likely to pay physicians and other healthcare professionals for the treatment and management of obesity as a recognized condition, whereas policymakers may feel a stronger need to fund and execute programs for treating and intervening with obesity.
Since 2004, obesity has been classified as a chronic condition by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Since 2011, Medicare has been paying for behavioral therapy for people with an obesity diagnosis. 5 This could include high-intensity behavioral therapy, dietary assessment, and screening with BMI and waist circumference. Under some conditions, bariatric surgery is also covered.
Obesity might explain a number of health issues you could experience, including:
- A heart attack and a stroke
- Diabetes type 2
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Joint issues brought on by excess weight
- Breathing issues, such as sleep apnea, which causes you to momentarily stop breathing while you’re asleep
Small changes may be helpful.
The good news is that there are things you can do to lose weight. Additionally, even a small amount of weight loss can significantly improve both your health and your mood. It might not take as much weight loss as you might believe to start experiencing health advantages.
Aim to drop 1-2 pounds every week to start. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that adults who are overweight or obese attempt to reduce 5% to 10% of their present weight over the course of six months.
If you’re prepared to begin a weight loss program, ask your doctor to assist you in developing personal goals and to recommend additional experts who can offer advice and support in achieving your objectives. A nutritionist, for instance, can assist you with a meal plan, while a physical therapist or trainer can encourage you to move more.
You should aim for gradual improvement over time and adopt long-term beneficial lifestyle adjustments. You can start losing weight and feeling better in this manner.
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