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Am I overweight?

If you’ve been feeling sluggish and your clothes have been fitting tighter, you may be wondering if you just need to lose a few pounds or if you’re medically considered overweight.

So how excess weight can affect your health, and how you can tell if you’re truly overweight?

The health risks of being overweight

Being medically overweight can severely impact your health and your quality of life. Excess weight can increase the risk of numerous health issues, including:

  • hypertension
  • coronary heart disease
  • stroke
  • type 2 diabetes
  • metabolic abnormalities
  • gallbladder disease
  • cancer (uterus, gallbladder, cervix, ovary, breast and colon)
  • osteoarthritis
  • sleep apnea

BMI as a screening tool

Although it’s not a direct measure of body fat, Body Mass Index (BMI) is considered to be a reliable indicator of body fat for the majority of people. Research has shown that BMI correlates to direct measures of body fat, making it one of the most common measurements used to determine if a person is overweight or obese.

BMI can be calculated easily at home by dividing your weight (in pounds) by your height (in inches squared), and then multiplying by 703. See a simple calculation example here.

BMI calculations are categorized as follows:

  • A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered within the normal, healthy range.
  • A BMI between 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.
  • A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.
  • A BMI of 40 or more is considered extremely obese.

Since BMI is not a diagnostic tool and doesn’t assess other important factors, such as body composition and lifestyle, it’s important to use it only as a starting point. To determine if your excess weight is truly a health risk, consult a medical professional. He or she will perform additional assessments that may include:

  • Taking family history
  • Measuring skinfold thickness
  • Evaluating diet
  • Determining physical activity levels
  • Bloodwork

Other ways to determine if you’re overweight

If your BMI is over 24.9 and you have some of the following symptoms, you may want to meet with a medical professional to see if losing weight is recommended and, if so, which weight loss options are best for you.

  • Your weight is keeping your from being able to exercise regularly (or at all).
  • You snore excessively and wake up groggy (excess weight can lead to sleep apnea, a condition where irregular breathing disrupts your sleep).
  • You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • You’re constantly tired and find everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping, exhausting.
  • The circumference of your waist is greater than 35 inches.
  • You have pain in your knees, hips and back.

What to do if you think you’re overweight

If your BMI categorizes you as being overweight or obese and you suffer from some of the symptoms listed above, seek medical advice about what your ideal weight should be and the best way to go about losing weight safely.

If your BMI is 35 or more, or if it is more than 30 and you have at least one obesity-related condition, you may want to look into the LAP-BAND ® (Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band) System. The lap band is the only FDA-approved device for bariatric surgery for patients who fall into either of these categories.

If you’re considering weight loss surgery and would like more information about lap band surgery in Dallas, Texas, sign up for a free informational consultation today. Dr. Jay and the Dallas Bariatric Center team are weight loss experts who are passionate about supporting you along your weight loss journey.

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