What are the different levels of obesity?

There are five different levels of obesity, which are determined by measuring the body mass index (BMI). BMI calculators are easily available through an internet search. The five levels of obesity include obese, severely obese, morbidly obese, super obese, and super super obese. Medical professionals stress that these levels should only be viewed as a guide for most people. To obtain a completely accurate diagnosis, obesity must also be evaluated according to each individual's health history and waist circumference.

The lowest of the obesity levels is the obesity class. It covers a BMI range of 30 to 34.9. A person in this range would be at least 20 percent taller than the ideal body weight. By comparison, a healthy adult BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Severely obese, which is a BMI of 35 to 45 is the next level of obesity. People at both levels of obesity tend to be able to make significant health improvements with even a small amount of daily exertion, such as regular, moderate exercise.

There are more serious health consequences associated with the following two levels of obesity. The morbidly obese have a BMI range of 45 to 50, while the super obese are in the 50 to 60 range. People at this level require a more focused effort to reduce their weight. While the lower levels concentrate on improving quality of life, people at this level are more focused on sustaining life.

Super-super obese is the highest level of obesity and presents the most serious health risk. This level encompasses any BMI greater than 60. An individual at this level must make immediate and permanent life changes to avoid death.

Obesity is essentially an excessive amount of body fat. In addition to measuring BMI, the condition is diagnosed by measuring waist circumference. Any BMI over 25 warrants medical attention. Women with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches (approximately 88.9 centimeters) and men with waists greater than 40 inches (approximately 101.6 centimeters) are also at high health risk.

It is not only the amount of extra fat an individual has, but also where the weight is distributed that helps determine if a person is obese. If the excess weight is carried to the midsection and the stomach in particular, there is a higher chance of health risks. Excess weight in the lower part of the body, such as in the thighs or hips, is not that serious.

In addition to determining weight and waist measurements, doctors also look at each patient's personal and family health history when making a diagnosis. Factors like heart disease; Lifestyle; and drug, alcohol, and cigarette use may also be factors in determining the severity of the health risk. Understanding these factors can also help a doctor design an effective plan for treatment.

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