Share this page

Health Library

In adults, being overweight or obese is based on BMI.

  • Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25.
  • Obesity is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 30.
  • Severe or morbid obesity is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 40.

In children, being overweight or obese is based on BMI being above normal ranges on growth charts.

  • Overweight is BMI greater than or equal to 85th percentile for gender and age.
  • Obesity is BMI greater than or equal to 95th percentile for gender and age.
  • Severe obesity is BMI greater than or equal to 99th percentile for gender and age.

Being overweight or obese occurs when the amount of calories you take in is consistently greater than the number of calories you use during activity and basic bodily functions.

Complications of Obesity

Being obese can increase your risk of early death and shorten life expectancy.

Other complications of untreated obesity include:

Being overweight can also affect pregnancy and your child.

  • Effects on children may include increased risk of:
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Congenital anomalies, especially neural tube defects
    • Autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders

You may also experience problems during labor and deliver and having a baby with a high birth weight.

What are the risk factors for obesity?
What are the symptoms of obesity?
How is obesity diagnosed?
What are the treatments for obesity?
Are there screening tests for obesity?
How can I reduce my risk of obesity?
What questions should I ask my doctor?
Where can I get more information about obesity?

References:

Barlow SE, Expert Committee. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. Pediatrics. 2007;120(Suppl):S164-S192. Available at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/120/Supplement_4/S164.long.

Complications of obesity. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T576498/Complications-of-obesity. Updated January 16, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Data, maps, and trends. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/databases.html. Updated September 1, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Explore overweight and obesity. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe. Updated July 13, 2012. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Heart-Health Risk Assessment. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/ToolsForYourHeartHealth/Heart-Health-Risk-Assessments-from-the-American-Heart-Association_UCM_306929_Article.jsp#.VvpxLU2FPIU. Updated August 30 ,2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Leddy MA, Power ML, Schulkin J. The Impact of Maternal Obesity on Maternal and Fetal Health. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Fall; 1(4): 170–178. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2621047/.

Obesity. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/nutritional-disorders/obesity-and-the-metabolic-syndrome/obesity. Update December 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Obesity and overweight. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en. Updated June 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults. Updated November 20, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Obesity, Bias, and Stigmatization. Available at: http://www.obesity.org/resources/facts-about-obesity/bias-stigmatization. Updated April 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999-2010. JAMA. 2012;307(5):483-490.

What is Obesity? Obesity Society website. Available at: http://www.obesity.org/resources/facts-about-obesity/what-is-obesity. Updated April 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.

12/2/2008 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults: Pischon T, Boeing H, Hoffmann K, et al. General and abdominal adiposity and risk of death in Europe. N Engl J Med. 2008;359(20):2105-2120.

2/5/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults: Subak L, Wing R, Smith West D, et al. Weight loss to treat urinary incontinence in overweight and obese women. N Engl J Med. 2009;360(5):481-490.

4/16/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults: Neovius M, Sundström J, Rasmussen F. Combined effects of overweight and smoking in late adolescence on subsequent mortality: nationwide cohort study. BMJ. 2009;338:b496.

10/16/2009DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115153/Obesity-in-children-and-adolescents: Krul M, van der Wouden JC, Schellevis FG, van Suijlekom-Smit LW, Koes BW. Musculoskeletal problems in overweight and obese children. Ann Fam Med. 2009;7(4):352-356.

1/15/2010DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults: Shiri R, Karppinen J, Leino-Arjas P, Solovieva S, Viikari-Juntura E. The association between obesity and low back pain: a meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol. 2010;171(2):135-54.

1/29/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults: Kuk JL, Ardern CI. Influence of age on the association between various measures of obesity and all-cause mortality. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009;57(11):2077-2084.

10/1/2013 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults: Zaman A. Diabetes and obesity greatly contribute to hepatocellular carcinoma. NEJM Journal Watch. Available at: http://www.jwatch.org/na32053/2013/09/11/diabetes-and-obesity-greatly-contribute-hepatocellular?query=topic_nutrition. Accessed October 1, 2013.

5/27/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults: Molyneaux E, Poston L, Ashurst-Williams S, Howard LM. Obesity and mental disorders during pregnancy and postpartum: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(4):857-867.

10/1/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults: Bhaskaran K, Douglas I, Forbes H, dos-Santos-Silva I, Leon DA, Smeeth L. Body-mass index and risk of 22 specific cancers: a population-based cohort study of 5.24 million UK adults. Lancet. 2014;384(9945):755-765.



Last reviewed February 2017 by Michael Woods, MD FAAP

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Baptist Flame

Baptist Health Systems

1-800-948-6262

Find A Doctor

Services

Locations

Baptist Medical Clinic

Patients & Visitors

Learn

Contact Us

Physician Tools

Careers at Baptist

Employee Links

Online Services

At Baptist Health Systems

At Baptist Medical Center

close ×