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Signs You are "Medically Overweight" 

Bariatric surgeon explains the dangers of being overweight and signs you have too much excess fat. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Having an expanding waistline might not seem like a big deal, but it's easy to let excess weight get out of control and when that happens, you're at a greater risk for serious health complications like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more. While it's not hard to spot weight gain, there's other signs to watch out for as well and Eat This, Not That Health spoke with Dr. Hector Perez, a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon with Bariatric Journal who shares what's considered overweight and warning signals to pay attention to. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What's Considered Medically Overweight?

Doctor measuring obese man waist body fat.

Dr. Perez says, "One way to determine if someone is medically overweight is to use the body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. An adult with a BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight, and an adult with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. You can find your BMI by using an online calculator or by asking your healthcare provider."


Difference Between Medically Overweight and Obese

A woman squeeze her tummy

Dr. Perez tells us, "Being overweight and obese both refer to having too much body weight for a given height. The main difference between the two is that obesity is a more severe condition. Obesity occurs when someone has an excessively high amount of body fat, to the point where it may hurt their health. Obesity increases the risk for several chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Being overweight, on the other hand, could be caused by having too much muscle, water, or big bones – not just excess fat. While it isn't as severe as obesity, being overweight can still lead to health problems when left unchecked."


What Causes Someone to Be Medically Overweight?

woman eating pizza in bed
Shutterstock / Doucefleur

According to Dr. Perez, "There are many reasons why someone might become medically overweight. Some people have a genetic predisposition to being overweight or obese. Others may not be as active as they should be, or they may eat too many unhealthy foods. Some medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism or PCOS, can also cause weight gain. However, as mentioned earlier, other things can also influence weight besides body fat, such as muscle mass or water retention."


Dangers of Being Medically Overweight

overweight woman at home lying on the floor, laptop in front of her, prepared to work out on mat according to video

"When someone becomes overweight or obese, they are at an increased risk for developing several chronic conditions," says Dr. Perez. "These include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Being overweight can also lead to joint problems and sleep apnea. Additionally, carrying excess weight can make it harder to breathe, which can make physical activity more difficult. In some cases, being overweight can also lead to emotional problems, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression."


If Your BMI Number is This You're Overweight, According to Experts

shred belly fat

Dr. Perez states, "As mentioned, the body mass index is one way to determine whether someone is overweight or obese. It determines whether your weight is healthy based on your height. An adult with a BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight, while an adult with a BMI of 30 or more is obese."


Frequent Joint Pain

Overweight woman suffering from knee pain stepping on stairs

Dr. Perez says, "Another sign that you may be overweight is if you experience joint pain. This is because carrying excess weight strains your joints, which can lead to pain and discomfort."


You Snore or Have Difficulty Breathing

middle aged man and woman sleeping in bed
Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

Dr. Perez shares, "If you've been told that you snore loudly or if you have difficulty breathing, this could be another sign that you're carrying too much weight. This is because excess fat around the neck can narrow the airway and make it difficult to breathe."


You Always Feel Tired

Man sleeping in his bed and snoring loudly

Dr. Perez tells us, "If you find yourself getting tired too quickly, even with just normal, simple activities, this could also signify that you're carrying too much weight. Carrying extra weight can put extra strain on your organs – including your lungs, which can make it difficult to breathe. This means any physical activity will have to take more effort, which can leave you feeling exhausted more easily."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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