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What’s the difference between being Overweight and Obese?

What’s the difference between being Overweight and Obese?

Both obesity and overweight mean your body is accumulating more fat than it should be. But what’s the difference between being Overweight and Obese.

But how would you know what’s the right amount of fat that your body should have?

For that, there is a criterion known as Body mass index (BMI).

What is Body Mass Index?

It’s an index of weight-for-height. This index is used to differentiate overweight from obesity.

Body mass index (BMI) is calculated with a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his/her height in meters (kg/m2).

BMI Criteria for Adults

Those adults whose BMI is ≥25, are considered as Overweight. Whereas those adults whose BMI ≥30, are considered Obese. That means being obese is worse than being overweight. Your chances of getting various health issues are more when your weight shifts from overweight to obese category.

It is a good tool for screening people and categorising people in different weight categories. But there are some shortcomings of this method and it may not be suitable in every individual. For example, some people are muscular and their body weight may be more because of more muscle tissue than fat. But they will come under the overweight category.

What about the difference between Overweight and Obesity in children?

For children, we have to include the age factor also for categorising them into different categories.

Children, under 5 years of age are considered Overweight when weight-for-height is greater than 2 standard deviations above the WHO Child Growth Standards median. They are considered Obese when it’s more than 3 standard deviations.

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You can read about the WHO Child Growth Standards median on the WHO website.

Children, between 5-19 years of age are considered overweight when their BMI is more than 1 standard deviations above the WHO Child Growth Standards median. They are considered Obese when it’s more than 2 standard deviations.

You can read about WHO Child Growth Standards here

The number of obese people has tripled in the last 3 decades.

In the year 2019, 38 million children who were less than 5 years were either overweight or obese. Earlier it was thought to be the problem of developed countries but now in regions of Africa and Asia, about half of the children under the age of 5 years are either overweight or obese.

What are the factors that can result in obesity and overweight?

The answer lies in simple math, more intake of calories than the body needs or can use. The excess amount is deposited as fat on body tissues.

As we more and more progressing in various field, we rely more on machines than our physical strength. We cant use the same amount of energy as we used to do in the past. Physical activity has been reduced, children enjoy indoor games on computers, they are more interested in mobile phones than they want to play on the field.

What are the various health issues you will face if you are overweight or obesity?

Being overweight and obese invite a lot of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and stroke, osteoarthritis, and even cancers. As your BMI increases the risk of these diseases also increases.

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How to prevent obesity and overweight?

Adopt a healthier lifestyle to prevent obesity and overweight. These include reducing intake of sugar and carbohydrate-rich food and increasing more of fruits and vegetables, 30-45 minutes of daily low-intensity physical activity like playing or brisk walking, stress management and taking the help of a doctor/dietician if you are unclear about the healthy food choices.

If you have any question, you can ask here on our page Free Online Health Consultation.