Diagnosis of Obesity
- Body Mass Index (BMI)—A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight and 30 or higher is considered obese for adults.
- Waist circumference, sagittal diameter, and waist-to-hip ratio—Simple measurements that estimate the amount of fat deposited in the skin and inside the abdominal cavity. Waist-to-hip ratio greater than 1 in men or greater than 0.8 in women is considered obese. Waist circumferences that exceed 102 centimeters (40 inches) men or exceed 88 centimeters (35 inches) in women are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
- Skinfold caliper—Most fat is deposited beneath the skin. This test measures fat just beneath the skin, but cannot measure fat inside the abdomen.
- Water displacement tests—Fat floats; the rest of your body tissues sink. Determining how well you float provides an estimated ratio of fat to body mass.
- Electrical measurements—A couple of tests calculate your percentage of body fat by measuring the difference between the electrical characteristics of fat and other tissues in your body.
- Blood tests—To rule out other medical conditions that may cause excess body weight, such as thyroid or adrenal disorders
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How Are Overweight and Obesity Diagnosed? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/diagnosis.html. Accessed February 27, 2014.
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- Reviewer: Kim A. Carmichael, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 03/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/15/2015 -
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