Weight Management & Your Health

Your Health, Your Hospital

Obesity is in the news, on people’s minds, and on the agendas of the nation’s public health agencies. We all know that it means overweight, and that it’s an increasing problem in America. But what is the actual definition of obesity? What obesity statistics exist, and what can they tell us?

What Is Obesity?

Obesity is generally used as a way to say “very overweight.” But what does this term really mean?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use the body mass index (BMI) to determine whether someone is underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. BMI is calculated based on a relationship between a person’s height and weight.

Although there is some debate among the authorities, the World Health Organization classifies “obesity” as a BMI of between 30 and 39.9, “morbid obesity” as a BMI of between 40 and 49.9, and “super obesity” as a BMI of over 50.

According to the WHO definition, a 5-foot-9 person would have to weigh 271 pounds to classify as morbidly obese and 339 pounds to be super-obese. That translates to being roughly 100 pounds over one’s ideal body weight for morbid obesity — if you’re 5-foot-9, 168 pounds is the cutoff point between "normal" and "overweight."

As a person's weight goes above (or below) the "normal" BMI range, there begins to be a correlation to various weight-related health conditions, with corresponding degrees of risk as a person moves further away from the "normal" range. However, it should be noted that a number of other factors contribute to this risk and that BMI itself is not a perfect measurement.

BMI or Body Fat?

Click on our infographic about obesity in the US and find out more:

BMI does not measure body fat, and it’s possible for a very muscular person with virtually no body fat to register as “obese” using BMI alone. Two people could have the same BMI, but very different levels of health, fitness, and body composition. Furthermore, it is possible to have a “normal” BMI but to still have unhealthy levels of body fat.

Research performed in the last few years by the Mayo Clinic has suggested that over half of Americans with a "normal" BMI actually had body fat percentages that would make them obese - 20 percent of body weight for men and 30 percent for women.

Unfortunately, body fat measurement methods are often inconvenient, inaccurate, or expensive.

The BMI is relatively easy to compute, and it is used and promoted by many agencies as a general guideline indicating whether a person should consider losing weight.

Weight Loss Surgery for Obese Patients in L.A.

For those with BMI of 30 or higher — that is, those who are about 50 pounds or more overweight — weight loss surgery is a possible solution. Marina Weight Management Center has worked with hundreds of people who have sought a surgical approach to dealing with their obesity. Obesity increases the risk of serious health problems, including orthopedic problems, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, furthermore severe obesity can impair a person’s ability to perform day-to-day activities.

Located at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, the Marina Weight Management Center offers several options with proven track records to Los Angeles residents. Please explore this site to learn more about our program.