BMI and Health Risks
If someone has a high BMI, does that mean that they are overweight or obese? Furthermore, does that mean that they are at increased risk for health problems? The answers to both these questions depend on several factors.
BMI is just one factor to consider when assessing a person's weight. To determine if excess weight is a health risk, a healthcare provider will perform further assessments. According to recent guidelines, assessment of weight involves using three key measures:
- Waist circumference
- Risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity.
Keep in mind that the body mass index is a screening tool; it is not used to diagnose any medical conditions but instead is used as one measure to assess a person's weight and his or her risk for developing certain medical conditions.
If someone is determined to be overweight or obese, they are at increased risk for certain medical conditions, including:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol or other lipid disorders
- Sleep apnea
- Certain cancers
- Gallbladder disease
- Fatty liver disease.
Even a small weight loss (just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk of developing those diseases.
(Click BMI and Weight for more information on assessing your risk for obesity-related medical problems.)