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05.Am I clinically obese?


Key indicators of obesity


Obesity is usually defined as having an excess of total body fat. This excess is measured in several different ways, but the most common measure is body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in metres. A BMI of 18.5 – 25 is considered ‘normal’, 25-30 is overweight and over 30 is obese.
There are several classes of obesity, and the term “morbid obesity” applies to people who have a BMI over 40, or have a BMI over 35 as well as some associated major medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. People with a BMI over 30 can sometimes include sportspeople and weight lifters heavy with muscle tissue who aren’t strictly obese because they don’t have large amounts of excess body fat. On the other hand, some people, for example the elderly, may have a ‘normal’ body weight but a high proportion of fat compared to muscle.

Waist circumference

Waist circumference is a better measure of so-called central obesity than BMI – fat that accumulates around the belly is associated with most obesity-related health risks. For women, a measurement over 80cm is associated with increased health risks, and for men 94cm. A substantially increased risk is associated with measurements of 88 and 102 cm for women and men respectively.


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The road to obesityfat_kid

Long term studies tracking the diet and lifestyles of individuals have identified the following behavioural and dietary habits as being strongly associated with weight gain and obesity:

  • Greater fat intake (total, saturated and trans fat)
  • Higher consumption of fast foods
  • Lower intake of fibre and/or whole grain foods
  • Higher consumption of soft drinks
  • Consuming “empty calorie” foods (energy-dense foods with little nutritional value)
  • Snacking between meals
  • A decline in physical activity and fitness levels
  • Watching television
  • Repeated dieting
  • Overweight or obese in childhood or adolescence
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