What’s the difference between overweight and obese?
When someone is overweight, their weight exceeds the normal standards for people of their height and age. However, because everyone’s weight must include their bones, muscles, fat and water content, it is possible for someone to be overweight without being obese.
For example, a professional athlete or bodybuilder may well be overweight, but because the majority of the ‘excess’ weight that they are carrying is muscle tissue, they are not obese.
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Nevertheless, in the majority of cases, being overweight does equate to carrying too much body fat and often progresses to become clinical obesity.
There are several ways of defining obesity, but the most common is by reference to what is known as ‘Body Mass Index’ (BMI) which is a mathematical formula that generates a numerical BMI based on an individual’s weight in kilograms divided by their height in meters squared. Hence, the mathematical formula for BMI is kg/m2.
These figures can be converted into imperial measures (pounds and inches), but because the formula for doing so is somewhat complex, you should use this easy ready calculator taken from the consumer.gov statistics page to calculate your own ‘Body Mass Index’:
So, now you have a BMI figure, what does it mean? From the same web site, you can see the relationship between your clinical weight classification and the risk of weight related illnesses and disease: