Overview

This condition is an accumulation of excess fat that results in a body weight considered unhealthy for a person's height. Excess weight can increase the likelihood of disease and health problems.

Defining Overweight and Obese

In adults, a healthy weight is determined by a person's body mass index, commonly called the BMI. In most body types, the BMI correlates closely with the amount of body fat a person carries. An adult with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. In children and teens, BMI scales are adjusted according to age and gender.

Calculating BMI (English)

BMI is calculated using a person's height and weight. In English units, for example, a person who is 190 pounds and 5 feet, 10 inches tall would have a BMI of 27.3. This person would be considered overweight.

Calculating BMI (Metric)

In metric units, a person who is 86 kilograms and 1.78 meters tall would have a BMI of 27.1. This person would be considered overweight.

Causes

Weight gain can be caused by multiple factors. For most people, weight gain results from a combination of insufficient physical activity and an abundance of oversized, high-calorie snacks and meals. But weight gain is also linked to genetic factors, health conditions, medications, and factors such as quitting smoking or not getting enough sleep.

Health Problems

A person who is overweight or obese is at a much higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoarthritis, and other problems.

Treatment

Treatment options for people who are overweight or obese typically include exercise and a diet that restricts sugary, fried foods and red meat.