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Obesity According to Body Mass Index
Definition of Obesity
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Obesity & BMI (Body Mass Index)

The term obese implies that one is very "fat", extremely overweight, and often carries negative connotations. However the scientific definition describes obese in a non-judgmental way that simply expresses ones weight as a number, a certain body mass index (BMI). Since the early 1980s, BMI has been the medical standard for obtaining obesity measurements. Government researchers and scientists developed the BMI to take height into account in weight measurements. It is important to realize that one cannot determine if one is obese based solely on one's weight. For example, if one weighs 145 pounds, is he or she considered to be obese? The answer to this question lies in also asking the person's height. The answers would be different for someone who is 5'1" tall, 5'6", and 6'.

Today, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered to be overweight and the criteria for being considered obese consists of a BMI of 30 or more. In order to calculate one's BMI a simple mathematical formula is used (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared). According to these conventions a person who is 5'2" and weighs 165 has a BMI of 30.2, and is obese. Someone who is 5'6" and weighs 165 has a BMI of 26.6, and is overweight, but not obese. Someone who is 6' and weighs 165 has a BMI of 22.4, and is in the healthy BMI range.

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