Health Risks Of Obesity

This page discusses the health risks of obesity. We also help you to determine your chances for becomming obese. This information was adapted from The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

According to the NHLBI guidelines, assessment of overweight involves using three key measures. They missed one…Keeping It Real!

Often, people will talk for days or tell their stories about diet after diet, pill after pill, but have nothing to say when we ask about exercise…We say your not Keeping It Real! How do you keep it real? That’s up to you. Telling you what is and isn’t real, that we can do. But nothing more. You ultimately decide your own reality. So, here it is, a reality review…

NOT Reality

A pill for weight loss
A secret
Magic formulas
Weight loss without work
Instant cures
Rapid cures
Weight loss without work!


Nutrition (balance…no need to get Zen-like)
Reduced Calories (not much of a drop, if it’s the right kind)
Exercise (walking works…breath, move, & improve)
Chronic Disease (simple to avoid, but not necessarily easy)
Back to the work at hand…let’s look at the three standards the NHLBI uses to assess your risk for developing weight related disease. This is the same exact stuff your doctor uses everyday.

For the major weight related diseases, the best review is Medical Consequences Of Obesity written by Dr. Michael Smith, the Weight Loss Professional’s primary physician.

The link provided opens a new browser window, just close the browser window when you finish and you’ll be right back here, at this very spot.

Now lets take a closer look at the health risks of obesity.

Common Measures of Risk

The most common measures used for assessing the risk of developing a weight related illness, include…

  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Waist Circumference
  • Additional Risk Factors (for diseases associated with obesity)

The body mass index is a measure of your weight relative to your height. Waist circumference measures abdominal fat. Combining these with information about your additional risk factors yields your risk for developing obesity-associated diseases.

What is Your Risk Of Obesity

  1. Body Mass Index (BMI) 
    BMI is a reliable indicator of total body fat, which is related to the risk of disease and death. The score is valid for both men and women but it does have some limits.The limits are:

    • It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.
    • It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle mass.

    Use the BMI calculator or tables to estimate your total body fat. The BMI score means the following:

    Underweight… Below 18.5
    Normal… 18.5 – 24.9
    Overweight… 25.0 – 29.9
    Obesity… 30.0 and Above

  2. Waist Circumference
    Determine your waist circumference by placing a measuring tape snugly around your waist. It is a good indicator of your abdominal fat which is another predictor of your risk for developing heart disease and other conditions.Note…overweight and obesity really increase the risk for developing risk factors strongly associated with, say, heart disease.

    A waist circumference over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women, will increase the risk for high blood pressure (among other factors). High blood pressure directly links to cardiovascular disease. These are two of the major health risks of obesity.

    The table, Risks of Obesity-Associated Diseases by BMI and Waist Circumference, provides you with an idea of whether your BMI combined with your waist circumference increases your risk for developing obesity associated diseases or conditions.

  3. Other Health Risks Of Obesity
    Besides being overweight or obese, there are additional risk factors to consider.
High Blood Pressure High LDL-Cholesterol High Triglycerides High Blood Glucose
Premature Heart Disease Physical Inactivity Cigarette Smoking


For people who are considered obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30) or those who are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and have two or more risk factors, the guidelines recommend weight loss.

Even a small weight loss (just 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk of developing diseases associated with obesity.

Patients who are overweight, do not have a high waist measurement, and have less than 2 risk factors may need to prevent further weight gain rather than lose weight.

Talk to your doctor to see if you are at an increased risk and if you should lose weight. Your doctor will evaluate your BMI, waist measurement, and others risk factors for heart disease.

Some of the additional health risks of obesity for people who are overweight or obese include: greater chance of developing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or other lipid disorders, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Remember, even a small weight loss (just 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk of developing those diseases.


More than the health risks of obesity on our fad diets page 

Healthy weight loss home page