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Overweight: Excess Body Weight

Overweight Explained

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What Is Overweight?

According to health experts, "overweight" is defined as an excess amount of body weight. This excessive weight may include muscle, bone, fat, and water. Thus an athlete or fitness enthusiast who has excessive muscle mass may be assessed as overweight even if he is in peak physical condition with a lower-than-average amount of body fat. By contrast, someone who is totally unfit, with a higher-than-average body fat percentage may be assessed as being "normal weight" even though they are less healthy than the athlete.

How is Overweight Defined By the Body Mass Index? (BMI)

The body mass index is the standard method of assessing weight. This judges your weight status according to your height and the number of pounds/kilos you weigh. Someone with a BMI rating of 25-29.9 is considered to be overweight.

What Are the Health Consequences of Being Overweight?

If your weight falls into the BMI overweight category, you have an increased statistical risk of developing weight-related health problems. Generally speaking, however, other factors such as family history of weight-related illness, like heart disease or type 2 diabetes, need to be present before there is a significant danger from being overweight.

Severe Overweight is Called Obesity

Medically speaking, obesity means "excess body fat". Thus an athlete or bodybuilder, who is severely overweight for his height (because of a large amount of muscle tissue) will not be deemed as obese. However, the body mass index does not take body fat into account. According to the body mass index, anyone with a BMI rating of 30 or more is considered to be obese.

Do Health Risks Rise With Increased Overweight?

Generally speaking, the more overweight or obese you are, the higher the risk of health problems in later life. Thus the health dangers of obesity, especially severe obesity can be significant, if not life-threatening.

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