How can I tell if I am overweight and need to lose pounds?
Because Dr. Natarajan practices Sports Medicine, his patients tend to be active and fit. However, we do see a lot of patients who have committed themselves to a healthier lifestyle, including and especially starting an exercise program while trying to lose weight.
Experts estimate that up to 64% of United States adults are considered overweight or obese. People often wonder how to know if they are truly overweight and if so, to what degree. To determine a patient’s status, doctors and nutritionists use the Body Mass Index Calculator to determine a patient’s BMI. (Ask your doctor or use the internet to figure out yours).
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases use the following guidelines:
- A BMI of less than 18.5 is considered underweight
- A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy
- A BMI of 25-29 is considered overweight
- A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.
Because BMI does not show the difference between fat and muscle, it does not always accurately predict when weight could lead to health problems. For example, someone with a lot of muscle (such as an athlete) may have a higher, unhealthy BMI but still be healthy and physically fit.
Your weight or BMI is not the only measurement health care workers use to determine your health or any risks. We also consider where your body fat is located. If you carry your weight around your waist you are at greater risk than if you carry it in your thighs or hips. Women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches or men with more than 40 inches may have a higher risk for disease than people with smaller waist measurements.
Consult a physician with any questions you may have about BMI, weight loss and management and risks for heart disease.