Obesity Resource Center

Obesity Definition & Guidelines

Obesity is a condition that occurs when one’s body fat has far surpassed healthy weight parameters in comparison to height and age. Manifesting as excessive fat accumulation and storage over time, obesity occurs due to a wide variety of contributing factors ranging from:

  • Poor eating behaviors
  • Physical inactivity
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Food miseducation
  • Mental health issues
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Medication usage
  • Genetic factors

Over recent decades, global obesity rates have nearly doubled.[1] Obesity rates have become alarmingly high within the U.S. within those decades, affecting nearly 40 percent of the population or 93 million Americans in 2015-2016 according to the CDC.[2]The epidemic raises much more than mere aesthetic concerns. As obesity numbers rise, there is an increased prevalence of comorbidity disorders such as, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high triglycerides, respiratory issues, cancer, stroke, fatty liver disease, and chronic pain; officially making it one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.[3]

On a positive note, Obesity is a fully treatable disorder that requires corrections to one’s eating habits, lifestyle, in conjunction with improvements in mental stability and emotional wellness. Remember, obesity isn’t just about overeating, it is a complex disorder centered around addictive behaviors and behavioral health. With proper education, effective diet protocols, and a balanced state of mind, getting to a healthy weight and maintaining it is certainly achievable.


Body Mass Index or BMI is an indicator of an individual’s level of body fat. (BMI) is calculated by taking a person’s weight in kilograms and dividing it by the square of height in meters.

To calculate your BMI, you may enter your height and weight here: CDC BMI Calculator


If you suspect that you might be obese, it’ll be important to check your BMI. Not only does it give you a good estimate of your overall body fat, but it is also a good indication of where you stand as far as potential health risks that tend to rise as visceral fat increases. Checking your BMI status might feel overwhelming if it’s your first time, however, it can be the first step in empowering yourself and taking control of your health. Your score will be ranked as seen below:

Keep in mind, however, that BMI might not be the most accurate measurement in certain instances since it does not account for muscle mass, body composition, ethnic and gender differences and bone density. Athletes or body builders can rank as overweight or obese on the chart with very little body fat simply because of the density of their muscle mass. Measuring waist circumference instead, or consulting with a certified health practitioner are other recommended ways to learn your status.

Waist Circumference

Waist circumference can also be an indicator of obesity. High visceral fat levels, or fat which is stored within the abdomen is directly linked to heart disease, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

Measure your waist with a tape measurer by standing straight and wrapping it around your midsection (right above your hipbones). Do not suck in your stomach, breathing out first.

A waist size greater than the following is an indicator of obesity:
For Women:     <35 inches
For Men:           <40 inches[5]

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[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4511447/
[2] https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20375742
[4] https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/risk.htm
[5] https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/risk.htm