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Know your Risk – Take the Step

Over the years the terms “overweight” and “obese” have been used loosely, without general knowledge of their technical definition and what separates them from each other.  The general public may have a vision of what it means to be obese, for example, but is it necessarily accurate?

As the obesity epidemic continues to grow in our country, it is important to know what obesity means.  With Americans’ weight increasing over the past few decades, we as a people have created a new “normal” in our perception of weight.  However, the risks associated with weight are not so lenient. You or a loved one may fall in this category of increased risk for cardiovascular, pulmonary, and metabolic diseases. 

Normal weight, Overweight, and Obese categories are defined by a measure called Body Mass Index (or BMI), which is a factor of height and weight.  You can enter your information here for a quick BMI calculation. See the table below:

Category Body Mass Index (BMI)
Normal Weight 18.5 – 24.9 kg/m2
Overweight 25 – 29.9 kg/m2
Obese > 30 kg/m2

While BMI does not represent body composition (percent fat vs. lean body mass) it can provide an initial assessment for determining risk associated with weight.  Is your perception of weight accurate?  To provide an example, an average female (5’5” tall) weighing 180 or above would have a BMI over 30.  An average male (6’0” tall) weighing 221 or above would also be in the obese category. 

The time is now.  If you’ve feared the scale lately, afraid for what it may tell you, take that step and get on the scale.  Your fear may be fueled by guilt or shame, neither of which will go away without taking action.  Fear of the unknown is not tangible – it doesn’t give you any clear direction to go.  Take that step.  It is the first step in being honest with yourself.  Open that door and it will lead you to motivation, strength and priority to make a change. 

Link Source:  The US Department of Health and Human Services

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