Unless you’ve been isolated for the last ten years or so, you probably already know that obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. In 2015-16, around 40% of US adults were obese, and the numbers have continued to rise. If you’re carrying around some extra weight, you’re certainly not alone, but an important question is, should you be concerned?
At Uniquely Fit Medical Weight Loss and Wellness Center, Dr. Latisa Carson can help you answer that question. Obesity is complex, and if you are obese, we can help you improve your health through real food and lifestyle changes that lead to lifelong results.
Three ways to determine obesity
You may imagine that obesity and being fat are the same thing, but obesity is actually a medical condition, much like cardiovascular disease. Being obese raises your risk of developing numerous other conditions — including cardiovascular disease — but it’s more than a symptom or a risk factor. Obesity is a disease.
As a medical condition, obesity is diagnosed. A few different methods, varying in accuracy, are used to diagnose obesity.
Body Mass Index
This is probably one of the most common indicators used to diagnose obesity, but it shouldn’t be the only one. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight by your height in inches. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an easy-to-use calculator for determining BMI.
One of the reasons that BMI shouldn’t be the lone indicator for diagnosing obesity is that it’s possible to have a higher-than-average weight due to muscle mass. Think of professional athletes or bodybuilders. They may weigh more than an average person but not have the metabolic risks that come with obesity.
In most cases, a BMI of 30 or more, you’re classified as obese. The CDC breaks it into further categories:
- Class 1 obesity is a BMI between 30 and 35
- Class 2 is between 35 and 40
- Class 3 is 40 or higher, and is sometimes called extreme or severe obesity
One of the simplest tools for determining obesity is to measure your waist. If you’re male and your waist is 40 or more inches, you are likely to be obese. If you’re female with a waist measurement of 35 or more, you may be obese.
Body fat percentage
Measuring your body fat percentage is the most accurate way to determine if you’re obese or not. There are several different ways to measure body fat, including:
- DEXA scanning
- Air or water displacement
- 4-point or 2-point bioimpedance
- Skin calipers
In men, a body fat measurement of 25% or more is considered obese, and in women it’s 32% or more.
What you should do
If you are obese, you may feel frustrated and unsure of what you should do. Dr. Carson and her team of weight loss mentors can help. Since obesity is a medical condition, working with a medical professional gives you a greater chance of finding success and improving your health. We offer medical weight loss services, lifestyle coaching, a program called LeanMD, as well as supplements and appetite suppressants in some situations.
You may have always thought of excess weight as a cosmetic problem, but it does affect your health and can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several other issues. If you’re ready to learn how to lose weight and improve your health, schedule an appointment at Uniquely Fit Medical Weight Loss and Wellness today.