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Are You Overweight?


That’s an easy question to answer, but the answer is often difficult to accept. The answer lies in your Body Mass Index (B.M.I.). BMI is a ratio of your weight to your height. It is calculated by multiplying your weight (in pounds) by 703, then dividing by your height (in inches) squared.

  • If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, your weight is considered healthy.
  • If it falls between 25.0 and 29.9 you are overweight but not obese. Not yet.
  • Greater than 30 places you in the obese range. You may want to sit down first.

Accepting the Truth

Most of you reading this post are either overweight or obese. You must accept this fact in order to move on. Remember, you do not have to look or feel overweight to be overweight. If your BMI is greater than 25, you are at an unhealthy weight and at an increased risk of obtaining several deadly medical conditions.

Waist Circumference

Waist circumference is another useful method to determine if you are at a healthy weight. Large amounts of fat around your midsection increase the risks associated with being overweight. To determine your waist circumference, measure around your bare abdomen right above the two highest points of your hip. A man’s measurement should be less than 40 inches and a woman’s less than 35 inches. If your waist circumference is not what it should be, your first goal will be to get it there.

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Body Fat Percentage

The Body Mass Index and waist measurement are reliable ways to determine healthy weight. However, some of you still doubt your overweight or obese status. You skeptics should then get your body fat percentage checked. Body Fat Percentage (B.F.P.) is the percent of your body that is composed of fat.

  • A healthy BFP for women is 15% to 25%, and for men is 10% to 20%.
  • Overweight is described as a BFP of 25.1% to 30% for women and 20.1& to 25% for men; and
  • Obesity is considered greater than 30% and greater than 25% respectively.

Body fat percentages can be checked at home using special bathroom scales. More accurate, expensive or difficult to obtain tests are also available: Dexa Scanning (uses x-rays), Underwater Testing (uses water) or Bod Pods (uses air).

Use these various methods to figure out whether or not you are at a healthy weight. If you are not, make a commitment to start losing weight today.

Dr. Kalvin Chinyere is a weight-loss expert and ex-fat man. He is also the creator of the Don’t Go Broke Weight Loss Plan and the main contributor at Dr. Kal’s Blog.

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About the Author

Dr. Kalvin Chinyere is a physician, weight-loss expert and ex-fat man. He is also the creator of the Don’t Go Broke Weight Loss Plan and the main contributor at Dr. Kal’s Blog.

Community Thoughts (20)

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  1. Thanks Dr. Kal…wouldn’t a health body fat percentage be closer to 6-20% for men…to say anything below 10% is unhealthy may be a stretch. What do you think?

    • Actually, anything below 10% is considered somewhat unhealthy, as it can seriously affect hormone regulation in the body, as well as your immune system. Yeah, it’s the only way to get a six-pack, but it’s a little dangerous.

  2. Hood WorkoutNo Gravatar says:

    I have never done the BMI, but I am sure I would rank high (not that high is good)

    • Israel LagaresNo Gravatar says:

      my bmi is through the roof! always has been, always will be.

      • Many of the worlds top athletes have a BMI way above 25, it doesn’t take into account your natural frame of muscle coverage. Far too many of the worlds top fitness experts totally dismiss BMI and concentrate instead on body fat percentage. Personally I don’t worry about my BMI, the last time it was under 25 I was 13 years old.

  3. Dr Kal,

    Great post. Very eye opening. I have never calculated my BMI before.

  4. Rishi SharmaNo Gravatar says:

    Hello, Whatever Dr. Kal is saying is 10000% right. Its just a coincidence that I too have been following what he preaches. My weight loss story of losing 110 pounds and maintaining it for 6 years is all about A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.

  5. Tea BenefitsNo Gravatar says:

    I have bee overweight and I try some methods to lose weight. I find drinking tea is really a good method. It works well with no side effect.

  6. I did a post that uses bmi to backout what your weight loss should be… being an athlete with some muscle I am thinking that under 30 for me and I will start to be in a good range… Dr Kal what do you think of that and this post?
    http://www.weightladder.com/2008/04/18/using-bmi-to-calculate-required-weightloss/

  7. EstriasNo Gravatar says:

    I´m overweight…didn´t know…

  8. Diet MommyNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah, I’m there. Sigh.

  9. puolapuutNo Gravatar says:

    I am just on the edge. Might wanna fix that before I cross the line.

  10. A month ago I measure my BMI, and it said I’m in normal level, my weight is also in average.I think I manage my self properly at the age of 39.

  11. According to Charles Poliquin, if your BMI is over 10% for guys or over 20% for women, then you’re overweight! I’m on the skinny side as it is but I’m still around 16%. My goal is to reduce my BMI to the 10% mark (more for vanity reasons than anything I guess).

    • Israel LagaresNo Gravatar says:

      I’ve always had a high BMI, even when I was in the best shape of my life. I don’t go by BMI.

    • Actually I just realized I wasn’t thinking – BMI is not the same as your body fat percentage! The BMI is concerned with your weight and height whilst your body fat percentage is concerned with the amount of fat your body is storing. My bad guys!

  12. It’s fairly easy to see why BMI would be a bad measure. If you had a short person with a lot of muscle, his BMI would be quite high. That doesn’t mean he’s obese or has any health problems.

    That said, it’s a good simple gauge for many, many people.

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