Obesity

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Harvard Medical School

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Obesity

Heart and Circulatory
8059
Risks and Prevention
Obesity
Obesity
htmJHEHeart.152204
Lose pounds to lower you risk.
152204
InteliHealth
2010-03-05
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InteliHealth Medical Content
2012-03-05

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Obesity

One of every two Americans is overweight, and one in five is obese.

There are various ways of determining whether you are overweight or obese — none of which is perfect. One of the easiest is to compare your weight with the recommended weights on the table from the federal government's "Dietary Guidelines for Americans." Another commonly used method is to calculate your body mass index or BMI.

But no height-weight table or BMI calculation can take into account individual variations in proportions of fat and lean tissue (since muscle weighs more than fat) or the distribution of fat in the body. For instance, a person with a great deal of muscle may be overweight according to the table or BMI calculator, but have a very low proportion of body fat and thus not be obese.

Where your body's weight is distributed also has an important bearing on your risk of cardiovascular disease. In some obese people, most of the excess fat is deposited in the abdomen (visceral fat) — they are called "apple-shaped" — while it settles around the hips and thighs in "pear-shaped" folks. Apple-shaped people (more commonly men) have a higher risk of heart disease than do those shaped like a pear (more commonly women). One possible reason: While other fat cells empty their fat content directly into the general blood circulation, the contents of abdominal fat cells go directly to the liver before entering the bloodstream. Abdominal obesity is associated with a resistance to insulin; in an effort to compensate for this resistance, the pancreas secretes excessive amounts of insulin. The resulting high blood levels of insulin set up a complex chain of reactions that eventually leads to hypertension, elevated triglycerides, low HDL levels and accelerated atherosclerosis; diabetes and coronary heart disease may follow.

One way to estimate your risk is to divide your waist circumference by your hip measurement. A ratio less than 0.80 is desirable for women, and a ratio less than 1.0 is desirable for men.

One way to help determine whether you have too much visceral fat is to divide your waist circumference by your hip measurement. A ratio greater than 0.80 for women or a ratio greater than 1.0 for men suggests excess visceral fat.

How Much Should You Weigh?

Height
Weight (pounds)
(inches)
Ages 19-34 Ages 35 and older
60 97-128 108-138
61 101-132 111-143
62 104-137 115-148
63 107-141 119-152
64 111-146 122-157
65 114-150 126-162
66 118-155 130-167
67 121-160 134-172
68 125-164 138-178
69 129-169 142-183
70 132-174 146-188
71 136-179 151-194
72 140-184 155-199
73 144-189 159-205
74 148-195 164-210
75 152-200 168-216
76 156-205 173-222
77 160-211 177-228
78 164-216 182-234

Note: Recommended weights for women are on the lower end of the range; weights for men are on the higher end.

What Is Your Body Mass Index?

Body Mass Index 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 40
Height (inches) Body Weight (pounds)
58 96 100 105 110 115 119 124 129 134 138 143 148 153 158 162 167 191
59 99 104 109 114 119 124 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 173 198
60 102 107 112 118 123 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 174 179 204
61 106 111 116 122 127 132 137 143 148 153 158 164 169 174 180 185 211
62 109 115 120 126 131 136 142 147 153 158 164 169 175 180 186 191 218
63 113 118 124 130 135 141 146 152 158 163 169 175 180 186 191 197 225
64 116 122 128 134 140 145 151 157 163 169 174 180 186 192 197 204 232
65 120 126 132 138 144 150 156 162 168 174 180 186 192 198 204 210 240
66 124 130 136 142 148 155 161 167 173 179 186 192 198 204 210 216 247
67 127 134 140 146 153 159 161 167 174 185 191 198 204 211 217 223 255
68 131 138 144 151 158 164 171 177 184 190 197 203 210 216 223 230 262
69 135 142 149 155 162 169 176 182 189 196 203 209 216 223 230 236 270
70 139 146 153 160 167 174 181 188 195 202 209 216 222 229 236 243 278
71 143 150 157 165 172 179 186 193 200 208 215 222 229 236 243 250 286
72 147 154 162 169 177 184 191 199 206 213 221 228 235 242 250 257 294
73 151 159 166 174 182 189 197 204 212 219 227 235 242 250 257 265 302
74 155 163 171 179 186 194 202 210 218 225 233 241 249 256 264 272 311
75 160 168 176 184 192 200 208 216 224 232 240 248 256 264 272 279 319
76 164 172 180 189 197 205 213 221 230 238 246 254 263 271 279 287 328

 

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bmi,body mass index,insulin,abdominal,muscle
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Last updated March 05, 2010


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