What exactly does obese mean? It's a good question and there is definately some confusion out there about what this term means. Many people believe that obese is a general term used like referring to someone as fat. The terms "overweight" and "obese" are not random judgements about someone's weight, rather they are based on the Body Mass Index (BMI). When people think of obese, they usually think of someone who is very heavy, in other words they think of someone who is morbidly obese, or a category 3 obesity. In reality, many people are surprised (and many people in denial) about the fact that they themselves are obese. There is significance as to whether or not a person can be labeled underweight, normal, overweight, obese, or extremely obese.
The Body Mass Index or BMI is a great tool for non-bodybuilders or powerlifters to use in order to get a quick and general assessment of their overall condition as it relates to their weight. Height is factored into this equation and many of the online calulators also factor in age. The reason that BMI is not a good tool to use for powerlifters or bodybuilders is because the index does not factor in muscle into the equation. Therefore, top bodybuilders would be labeled obese or even extremely obese under the Body Mass Index. For the average person however, the BMI is a great tool and can be used to monitor your progress. It can be used in addition to watching the weight scale, clothing size, and bodyfat percentage. You can find free BMI calculators online by doing a search for "BMI calculator".
Lets now talk about the different categories to consider in relation to the BMI calculator. When you calculate your BMI, you will either get designated underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. The following numbers correlate directly to the various categories:
Underweight: Less than 18.5
Normal: 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight: 25 to 29.9
Obese (Category 1): 30 to 34.9
Obese (Category 2): 35 to 39.9
Obese (Category 3): Greater than 40
The significance of these categories is that the higher up you go, the more likley it is that you are going to have significant health problems. The higher you are the more it will impact your quality of life as everyday activities become more and more challenging. Your joints and back may begin to indicate the consequences of moving around excess weight for hundreds or even thousands of steps daily. You may notice that getting up out of a seated position is increasingly difficult, and you must generate some momemtum to do so or use your upper body to help get you up. These are warning signs that must be addressed, as the older you get the worse the problem will get. Although I do not want to go into great detail about Resting Metabolism as I have done so in other blogs, the older we get, the slower our metabolisms get. Therefore, not only will the affects of arthritis and joint pain set in earlier in life, but unless lifestyle changes are made, you will gain more weight over time as your metabolism drops.
Do you have someone that you know and care about who you believe is overweight or obese? Chances are you do. Over sixty percent of adults are overweight or obese at the time of this writing and approximatley 30% of children are. I used to ask people if they often see morbidly obese elderly persons. The answer is usually no, because they do not live that long. This is changing however because new drugs are helping to combat medical issues, many of them related to obesity. I would be very happy about this were it not for the fact that many of these people who are obese have a quality of life that is questionable at best. Entire industries are exploding such as mobile scooters to help those who are able to live longer lives due to these medications, albeit with limited or decreased mobility due to their obesity.
To conclude, if you have a spouse or someone you care about who you believe is overweight or obese, have them do one of the online BMI calculators. Do not tell them about the different categories before inputting their information. Once you have the information, take a look at what category they fall into. Do not be shocked if they fall into the obese category but are in denial about it. As I said, many people think of "obese" as "fat", when in fact it is simply a mathematical calculation. They may be in denial about their current physical state. Some may even get angry that you showed them the index. If you care about someone and their health however, it's important sometimes to be frank and let them know you care about them and want them to live and long and happy life. As always thanks for reading and be sure to check out my web page at http://www.paulowens.org