In the US alone, over 32% of adults are overweight, and over 36% are obese. That means you’re significantly more likely to struggle with excess pounds at some point than not. Understanding the difference between being overweight versus obese can help you understand the extent of your related health risks and may prompt you to seek the support you need.
At Delta Medical Weight Management Center in Southaven, Mississippi, Dr. Ulric Duncan and his team provide medically supervised weight-loss programs to help you do away with added pounds and improve your overall wellness.
Overweight versus obese
When you’re overweight, it means that your weight surpasses what’s considered a normal, healthy weight range for your body. When you’re obese, your weight is significantly higher than this range. The BMI, or body mass index, a screening tool that uses your height and weight, may help your health care providers determine the healthiness of your weight. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, and a BMI over 30 is considered obese.
The BMI is not a diagnostic tool, however, and doesn’t work well for everyone. If you’re a muscular athlete, for example, your BMI may appear to be in the “overweight” range, when in fact you have large amounts of healthy, dense tissue. Bone density and genetics also impact your weight. In other words, your height and weight don’t necessarily determine how “healthy” you are. For these reasons, working with a qualified professional who can properly assess your overall health is important for determining your ideal weight range.
When you’re overweight, you may experience these issues:
- Somewhat elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, and/or blood sugar levels
- Feeling less healthy and fit than you have in the past
- A sense that if you improved your lifestyle, you could lose around 5-10 pounds
- Self-consciousness about your body size
If you’re obese, you may experience these issues:
- Difficulty losing even small amounts of weight
- High blood pressure, cholesterol, and/or blood sugar levels
- Poor energy levels
- High levels of fatigue
- Significant self-consciousness about your body size
Overweight and obesity causes
In an overall healthy person, body weight derives from how many calories, or fuel, you take in through food and how much of that energy you expend through daily activity. Everything from breathing and digesting food to high impact exercise burn calories, in varying amounts. So if your metabolism is functioning normally, you’ll gain weight whenever you consume more calories than you expend on a routine basis. And the greater the excess in caloric intake, the more likely you’ll be to go from overweight to obese.
Other factors can fuel excess weight gain and obesity, too, including:
- Binge eating disorder and yo-yo dieting
- Environmental factors, such as poor access to parks, gyms, and healthy foods
- Genetic conditions, such as Prader-Willi Syndrome
- Growing up learning unhealthy lifestyle habits
- Hormonal conditions, such as thyroid disease and Cushing syndrome
- Stress and a lack of sleep
How to lose excess weight
Weight loss is seldom an easy process, especially when you’re obese. That said, it’s important to know that healthy weight control is possible. And making your way there can bring tremendous benefits. Even losing 5-10% of your body weight can improve your health by lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
At our center, Dr. Duncan and his team conduct a comprehensive exam, then create a personalized weight-loss program to help you lose excess pounds for good. Depending on your needs, your program may include dietary and behavioral counseling, the Obera® intragastric balloon, lipotropic and vitamin B-12 injections, and colon hydrotherapy.