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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is obesity diagnosed?

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  • I'm an Accredited Practising Dietitian with more than 30 years experience. Particular areas of interest and expertise are in Obesity & Weight Mgt, Type 2 … View Profile

    One measure used in clinical practice is to talk about Body Mass Index.   A normal BMI is 20 - 25 kg/m2, Over weight is 25 - 30, Obese is 30 - 35 and over 30 is described as morbidly obese.  Body Mass Index is measured by dividing a person's height in Metres squared into a person's weight in kilograms.   Probably more importantly is a person's waist measurement and this really should be done along with a person's BMI.  As abdominal fat increases so does the risk for Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Sleep Apnoea just to name a few.

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    Melissa Adamski

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I am an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and Accredited Nutritionist (AN) with a passion for food and good nutrition. I also have my own private … View Profile

    Adding to Diane's point, waist circumference is also important to consider when evaluating a person's weight.

    It is recommended that a womens waist be <80 cm and men's < 94cm.

    A women is considered to be at an increased risk of chronic disease between 80-88cm and a man is considered to be at an increased risk between 94-102cm.

    A women is considered to be at a greatly increased risk >88cm and a man is considered to be at a greatly increased risk >102cm.

    So along with BMI consider your waist circumference.

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    The most common way to find out whether you're overweight or obese is to figure out your body mass index (BMI). BMI is an estimate of body fat, and it's a good gauge of your risk for diseases that occur with more body fat.

    BMI = weight (in kilograms) / height (in metres) squared

    For  example, if you weigh 70 kg and are 1.7 metres tall:
    70/ (1.7)squared = 24

    According to the table below you would fall into the high level of normal range.

    The higher your BMI, the higher your risk of disease. BMI is calculated from your height and weight. These BMI ranges apply to adults and are not applicable to children under 18.

    What Does Body Mass Index Mean?
    18.5–24.9 Normal weight
    25.0–29.9 Overweight
    30.0–39.9 Obese
    40.0 and above Extreme obesity

    Although BMI can be used for most men and women, it does have some limits. It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build. BMI also may underestimate body fat in older people and others who have lost muscle.

    Another way to check whether you are a healthy size is to measure your waist circumference as a check on your abdominal fat. If you have a waist measurement of 94cm + (men) or 80 cm + (for women) you are at an increased risk of developing problems such as heart disease and diabetes due to excess abdominal fat.

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