One of the first things you should do when starting a weight loss program is to assess your body weight and physical condition. When am I overweight is easier to answer when you know how the medical industry decides. There are several different techniques used by physicians to let you know if you are overweight. Common procedures include:
- Determining Body Mass Indexing (BMI)
- Measuring Waist Circumference
- Measuring Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR)
- Measuring Weight-Frame Ratio
- Measuring Body Composition
When Am I Overweight? 5 Ways to Assess Your Body Weight
It is important to note that BMI calculations are used as a screening tool to help determine those who are at risk for obesity. This tool does not directly measure body fatness or health.
Physicians use this tool along with others to assess whether or not a person is overweight and at risk. This tool is easy to use and can help you keep track of your weight loss progress.
Use the formula below and/or this calculator on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
BMI is calculated by using a persons height and weight to determine if they are underweight, healthy, overweight or obese. The formula for calculating your BMI is:
BMI = (current weight in pounds X 703 ÷ current height in inches squared) or
BMI = (current weight in pounds X 4.88 ÷ current height in feet squared)
An example for a person weighing 189 pounds and who is 6 foot tall is:
BMI = (189 X 703) ÷ (72 X 72) = 132867 ÷ 5184 = 25.6 (rounded to the tenth decimal)
BMI= (189 X 4.88) ÷ (6 X 6) = 922.32 ÷ 36 = 25.6 (rounded to the tenth decimal)
Classifications for BMI are as follows:
- Underweight- BMI is calculated to be less than 18.5
- Healthy- BMI falls in between the range of 18.5- 24.9
- Overweight- BMI falls in between 25.0- 29.9
- Obese- BMI of 30.0 or higher
With these examples you never have to ask when I am overweight. The facts speak for themselves and indicate this person is classified as overweight.
For a child or teen a physician continues by plotting the BMI calculated on a BMI-for-age growth chart (boy or girl) to get a percentile ranking. Classifications are as follows:
- Underweight- ranked below the 5th percentile
- Healthy- ranked in between the 5th percentile and 85th
- Overweight- ranked between the 85th percentile and 95th percentile
- Obese- equal to or greater than 95th percentile
2- Measuring Waist Circumference
Another commonly used tool to track weight loss is measuring waist circumference. Physicians can use this tool to help determine if you are overweight and your health risks.
To accurately measure your waist circumference:
- Take the measurement directly on the skin.
- Use a tape measure and measure around your navel (just above your hip bone), keeping it at the same height all the way around.
- Keep the tape measure parallel to the floor.
- Do not hold your breath.
A man with a waist measuring over 40 inches is considered high risk if he has excessive abdominal fat. A woman would be considered high risk if she has a waist measuring over 35 inches and has excessive abdominal fat.
3- Measuring Waist-Hip Ratio
This method of assessing body weight takes into consideration the different body types (apple, pear, avocado, etc.) when determining health risks. First you need to obtain your waist and hip measurements. To decide when I am overweight do this:
- Stand erect with your feet together.
- Measure your waist where it is narrowest (usually right above the navel).
- Measure your hips at their widest (usually around the buttocks).
- Divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference
The health risk is determined as follows:
- Low Risk- Male WHR 0.90 or below; Female WHR 0.80 or below
- Moderate Risk- Male WHR 0.96- 1.0; Female WHR 0.81- 0.85
- High Risk- Male WHR 1.0 or above; Female 0.85 or above
4- Measuring Weight-Frame Ratio
This body assessment uses your height, weight and frame type to determine a person’s health risk.
First to determine your frame place your thumb and index finger around your wrist. If your fingers: overlap your frame is small; touch your frame is medium; do not touch your frame is large.
Next take the number of inches your height is above 5 feet and multiply it by 6 (i.e. a person who’s height is 5 feet 4 inches would multiply 4×6).
Add 106 to your previous total to get an average ideal weight for your height. If your frame is small subtract 5 from the total.
If your frame is large add 5. This number is your average ideal weight. Next divide your actual weight by the ideal weight. Using your results, your risk is determined as follows:
- Underweight- results less than 1.00
- Healthy weight- results between 1.00 and 1.10
- Marginally overweight- results between 1.11 and 1.20
- Overweight- results between 1.21 and 1.30
- Obese- results above 1.31
5- Measuring Body Composition
Body composition is used to determine the amount of weight on your body that is actual fat. These tests determine the weight of a person’s muscles, bones, organs and the water that is in their body.
They are more precise than the other methods but the accuracy of these tests vary and costs can be expensive. Body composition tests include:
- Dexa Scans
- Whole Body Plethsmography (Bod Pod)
- Hydrostatic Underwater Weighing
- Skinfold Calipers
- Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)
Putting the Assessments to Use to Know when I am overweight
If you wondering if you need to lose weight, all of the above tools are ways to assess your body weight.
The tools can help you keep track of your weight loss progress as they can be repeated as much as possible.
Keeping a weight loss journal of your measurements and calculations will help you more effectively see the improvements you make over time.
It is important to consult with your health physician before you begin any weight loss program.
The above information is given for educational purpose only and was not meant as health or weight loss advice.