Do you find yourself looking in the mirror, pinching your love handles, and wondering if you are overweight? If so, you are not alone. Every person can close their eyes and visualize in their mind what an overweight person looks like, but not many people actually know what classifies a person as being either overweight or obese. You can determine if you are overweight or obese by calculating either your Body Mass Index (BMI) or your body fat percentage.
BMI is a generic estimation of body fatness. Although calculating your BMI is definitely one of the fastest ways to determine if you are overweight, it may not be the most accurate tool. Your BMI is calculated by assessing both weight and height; however, it does not incorporate muscle mass into the final equation (i.e. not accurate for body builders). You can quickly determine your BMI by clicking on the following link: BMI Calculator. Compare your BMI results with the following table to determine if you are overweight:
CategoryBMI Range - kg/m^2
16.5 to 18.5
18.5 to 25
25 to 30
30 to 35
35 to 40
*A BMI of 40 or above can increases a person’s risk of death from any cause by 50%-150%.
Estimating your body fat percentage is a second way to determine if you are overweight. Examples of body fat percentage estimation tools that are both accurate and expensive are hydrostatic weighing, and Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry to name a few. While calipers and bioelectrical impedance analysis (used in home scales) are less accurate and cheaper. The American Council on Exercise has categorized the following ranges for body-fat percentage:
**Someone who is 40% overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely as is an average-weight person.