What is a ‘normal weight' anyway? It is difficult to determine exactly what a person's normal weight should be. As you would expect, there are different interpretations as to what a person's weight should be. It is very similar to beauty, in that, it is somewhat subjective. Regardless of the subjective nature, there are objective tools and tables that may be of assistance. These measurements or parameters have been established to help in determining what a normal weight is for a person of a certain height. The same indices are also used to extend the graphs and to help define overweight, obese weight and morbid obesity. Most current clinical studies assessing the health effects of overweight and obesity rely on a measurement of body weight adjusted for height.
Weight standards or classifications are derived in a number of ways. Measurements are taken and can be inputted into mathematical formulas or they may be used to find where a person is classified by their location on a table or graph. By using a mathematical formula known as Body Mass Index (BMI) a person can be placed into a risk or weight category. Body Mass Index (BMI) is the choice for many researchers and health professionals. This index represents a measure that allows a person to determine not only what category they are in, but also what their risks may be for certain medical and health conditions.
Desirable Body Mass Index (BMI) levels may vary with age. While the relationship of Body Mass Index (BMI) to body fat differs by age and gender, it provides valid comparisons across racial and ethnic groups. Body Mass Index (BMI) does not provide information concerning body fat distribution. Interestingly, body fat distribution has been identified as an independent predictor of health risk.
There is no one perfect measurement tool. Therefore, until a better indicator other than body fat is developed, Body Mass Index (BMI) will often be used to screen for overweight and obese individuals. Health risks also increase as body fat distribution characteristics change, thus other measurement techniques remain as valuable assessment tools.
Table and graphs showing curves may also be used to plot the height and weight. A person may then compare their height and weight to the standard to determine where they land on the curves. These curves standard have been collected by using actual heights and weights measured and collected on people who are representative of the U.S. population by the National Center for Health Statistics. Other desirable weight tables have been created by the life insurance Companies, based on their client populations. Other guidelines include those of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults.
So in essence, all people are measured using the same techniques and then categorized by their results into being of normal weight range, overweight range, obese weight range, or morbidly obese weight range.
Definition of normal weight.
People of normal weight are in the weight range that is considered an allowable weight for their height and other measurements. This ‘normal' weight range will vary with age.
Definition of over weight and obese weight.
Like the normal weight definition, overweight classes or categories can be defined by ranges of values for a given measurement system. Overweight refers to increased body weight in relation to height, when compared to some standard of acceptable or desirable weights. It too can vary with age and the measurement system, technique or tool utilized.
Overweight may or may not be due to increases in body fat. It may also be due to an increase in lean muscle mass. For example, professional athletes may be very lean and muscular, with very little body fat, yet they may weigh more (overweight) than others of the same height. While they may qualify as overweight due to their large muscle mass, they are not necessarily fat, regardless of what their Body Mass Index (BMI) or other weight assessment parameter measures them as.
Simple, health-oriented definitions of overweight and obesity are be based on the amount of excess body fat at which health risks to people begin to increase. Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat or adipose tissue in relation to lean body mass. The amount of body fat (or adiposity) includes concern for both the distribution of fat throughout the body and the size of the adipose tissue deposits. Body fat distribution can be estimated by skin fold measures, waist-to-hip circumference ratios, or techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging.
Individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, while individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more are considered obese. Obese weight or obesity means that you have an unhealthy amount of body fat. Individuals with a Body Mass Index or BMI or 35 are considered to be severely obese, and those individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 are considered morbidly obese. Generally, the morbidly obese are over 100 pounds over their recommended weight.
Doctors say that men with more than 25% body fat are obese (have obesity) and women with more than 30% body fat are obese (have obesity). Everyone needs some body fat, but too much fat and obesity can cause health problems.
When a body mass index (BMI) cut-point of 25 is used, in 1988–94 nearly 55 percent of the U.S. adult population was defined as overweight or in an obese weight class. This was up nearly ten percent when compared to the US population a decade before. Of particular note, the proportion of adults defined as having an obese weight by a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater has increased from 14.5 percent to 22.5 percent. A similar increase in overweight and obesity also has been observed in children above age 6 years in both genders and in all population groups.