The Relationship Between BMI and Weight in the United States
Almost two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight (defined as having a BMI equal to or greater than 25). This equals about 130 million adults. Nearly 61 million adults are obese (defined as a BMI greater than or equal to 30).
Approximately 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight, and another 15 percent are at risk for being overweight (BMI for age between the 85th and 95th percentile). Child obesity is a growing concern in today's world. An alarming number of children are obese and developing diseases normally seen in adulthood.
Less than half of US adults have a healthy BMI. This is equivalent to about 68 million adults. About 37 million women between the ages of 20 and 74 have an ideal BMI. About 31 million men between the ages of 20 and 74 have an ideal BMI.
If someone has a high BMI, does that mean that he or she is overweight or obese? Furthermore, does that mean that they are at increased risk for health problems? The answers to 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 the 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 BMI 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.