Are You Overweight Or Obese?

A close-up of a woman weighing herself What is the difference between overweight and being obese? Are you a little over your healthy weight or are fast-approaching obesity?

Doctors usually define “overweight” as a condition in which a person’s weight is 10%-20% higher than “normal,” as defined by a standard height/weight chart, or as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30.

Obesity is usually defined as a condition in which a person’s weight is 20% or more above normal weight or as a BMI of 30 or more. “Morbid obesity” means a person is either 50%-100% over normal weight, more than 100 pounds over normal weight, or sufficiently overweight to severely interfere with health or normal functioning.

Approximately 60 million Americans, nearly one-third of all adults and about one in five children, are obese. In 2008, only one state — Colorado — had an obesity rate less than 20%.

What Do Overweight & Obesity Mean?

Overweight and obesity are words used to describe a person’s weight that is greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that can increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems. Obesity impacts how you live and how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Obesity can affect your emotional health by lowering your self-esteem (you just don’t feel good about yourself), causing depression, making you feel uncomfortable in social situations, and significantly lowering your overall quality of life.