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A Health, Nutrition, and Alternative Medicine Blog

Monday, July 27, 2009

How do doctors define obesity? (body fat, bmi,etc)

Written by Tena Moore

Obesity is defined as having excessive body fat that puts one’s health at risk. Although there are other ways to determine obesity, such as measuring body fat, most doctors usually determine obesity by using a ‘body mass index’ (BMI) number. A BMI number is generated by using the person’s height and weight to determine a number that will show whether a person is obese, overweight, a healthy weight, or underweight. For adults, a BMI number of 30 and over is considered obese.

Body Mass Index is found by using a specific formula:

Weight, divided by Height in Inches (squared), multiplied by 703 = BMI

Did that make sense? Here’s an example.

Let’s say I am 5’4” tall and weigh 147 lbs.

I would take my height and turn it into inches. There are twelve inches in a foot, so that is 64 inches. First, multiply 64 by 64 = 4,096, to get the height squared. Take the weight (147 lbs.) and divide it by the height squared, 4,096. Lastly, take that number and multiply it by 703. The answer is 25.2297 – in other words, my BMI would be 25 and slightly overweight. I could enter the ‘normal weight’ category, and increase my health, by losing a couple of pounds.

BMI Weight Categories:

Underweight: Less than 18.5

Normal Weight: 18.5 – 24.9

Overweight: 25.0 – 29.9

Obese – 30.0 +

If this seems like too much calculating, it is very easy to search online for a ‘BMI Calculator’ that will do the work for you. Just input your weight and height and the rest will be calculated automatically.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is for informational purposes and is not medical advice. Individuals wishing to use supplements or alternative medicine therapies should consult with their doctor beforehand.

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