Surgeon General's Healthy Weight Advice for Consumers
AIM FOR A HEALTHY WEIGHT
- Find your Body Mass Index (BMI) on the chart below.
- If you are overweight or obese, losing just 10% of your body weight can improve your health.
- If you need to lose weight, do so gradually-1/2 to 2 pounds per week.
- Keep physically active to balance the calories you consume.
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes (adults) or 60 minutes (children) on most days of the week.
- Limit TV time to less than 2 hours per day.
- Select sensible portion sizes.
- Follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines).
WHAT IS YOUR BODY MASS INDEX?
Note: This chart is for adults (aged 20 years and olders).
WHAT MEASURE IS USED?
- An expert panel, convened by the National Institutes of Health in 1998, recommended that Body Mass Index (BMI) be used to classify overweight and obesity.
WHY IS BMI USED?
- BMI correlates with risk of disease and death; for example, heart disease increases with increasing BMI in all population groups.
- Calculating BMI is simple, rapid, and inexpensive.
- BMI correlates well with total body fat for the majority of people.
- BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height:BMI = weight (kg)/height (m)2
BMI = (weight (pounds)/height (inches)2) x 703
- As an alternative to calculating BMI, tables to determine BMI are commonly available (www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.htm).
CLASSIFICATION OF OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY BY BMI
- In adults:
- Healthy weight 18.5-24.9
- Overweight 25.0-29.9
- Class I 30.0-34.9
- Class II 35.0-39.9
- Class III >40.0
- In children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years, overweight has been defined as a sex- and age-specific BMI at or above the 95th percentile, based on revised Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts (www.cdc.gov/growthcharts).
- BMI has some limitations in that it can overestimate body fat in persons who are very muscular, and it can underestimate body fat in persons who have lost muscle mass, such as many elderly.
- An actual diagnosis of overweight or obesity should be made by a health professional.
- Overweight and obesity are associated with heart disease, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, breathing problems, and psychological disorders, such as depression.
- Solely having a BMI in the overweight or obese range does not necessarily indicate that a person is unhealthy. Other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and personal and family medical history are important to consider when assessing overall health.
- The higher a person's BMI is above 25, the greater their weight-related health risks.