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Nearly two-thirds of the United States population is overweight. There are many ways to determine if a person is overweight, but experts believe that a person's body mass index (BMI) is the best way to assess an adult's weight in relation to their height.

  • A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal.
  • Adults with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight. There are exceptions. For example, an athlete may have a higher BMI but not be overweight.
  • Adults with a BMI greater than 30 are considered obese.
  • Adults with a BMI greater than or equal to 40 are considered extremely obese.
  • Anyone more than 100 pounds overweight is considered morbidly obese.

A person with a high BMI may have a normal amount of body fat is they have a lot of muscles.

For information on calculating your BMI, see: Body mass index

Related topics:


Jensen MD. Obesity. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 239.

Review Date: 8/11/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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