ANNOUNCER: With obesity such a critical issue for Americans today, it's important to know the key indicators used to determine whether a person is overweight. One example is BMI, or body mass index.
SUZANNE HUGHES, MSN, RN: Body mass index is kind of a term that we've been using over the last several years. People might remember in the past they had those insurance charts, and you'd look up what your height was, and then it would tell you how much you were kind of allowed to weigh for a given height. That has now been kind of changed to a single figure, and there is a rather elaborate formula to calculate one's own body mass index. But most often, we as health care providers use a chart or a wheel to sort of key in someone's height and weight and then see what their body mass index number is.
ANNOUNCER: A normal BMI for adults falls between 18.5 and 24.9. Twenty-five to 29.9 is overweight. Thirty or above is considered obese and varies in severity.
Another method physicians use to help determine obesity is by measuring waist circumference. Over time, excess fat around a patient's mid-section has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other obesity-related conditions like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.