World Obesity Day: Are you obese or overweight? Know the difference

Obesity and being overweight have similar causes such as eating patterns and lifestyle choices. On World Obesity Day, let’s find out the differences between obesity and being overweight.

Obesity and being overweight are common conditions that are associated with excessive body fat. They are caused by factors such as genetics, family history, eating habits, lack of physical activity or movement. Body mass index or BMI is used to know if a person is overweight or obese. It is a measure of body fat based on a person’s weight and height. It is defined as the person’s body mass (in kilograms or kg) divided by the square of the individual’s height (in meters). Obesity and overweight go beyond the BMI. On World Obesity Day, which is observed on March 4, we tell you the differences between obesity and overweight.

What is obesity?

Obesity is a medical condition characterised by excessive accumulation of body fat, to the extent that it may have adverse effects on health, It is typically determined by measuring a person’s BMI.

What does being overweight mean?

Being overweight, also assessed using BMI, refers to having a higher body weight than what is considered healthy for a given height.

What are the differences between obesity and being overweight?

As many as 2.5 billion adults aged 18 years and older were found to be overweight in 2022, according to the World Health Organization. Out of these individuals, 890 million people were obese. The differences are not many, but here are some,

1. Degree of excess body fat

Obesity and overweight are all about too much body fat. Obesity involves a more significant accumulation of body fat compared to being overweight.

2. Health risks

Overweight people can still be healthy if they maintain good lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and stress management. However, carrying excess weight does increase the risk of developing various health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease. While both obesity and being overweight pose health risks, the severity and likelihood of complications tend to be higher in obesity, says the expert. Conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases are more prevalent in people with obesity.

3. BMI range

When it comes to BMI, you will be considered obese if the BMI ia greater than or equal to 30, as per the WHO. Overweight is slightly lower, with a BMI being greater than or equal to 25. This distinction is based on the degree of excess weight relative to height.

4. Impact on mobility and functionality

Obesity can significantly impact mobility and functionality, leading to difficulties in performing daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and bending. Being overweight may also affect mobility to some extent, but the impact is generally less severe compared to obesity.

5. Treatment approaches

The approach to managing obesity often involves more intensive interventions, such as medical supervision, dietary changes, exercise programs, and in some cases, medication or surgical options. Being overweight may be addressed through lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise, with less emphasis on medical interventions,

What are the healthy ways to lose weight?

If you are either obese or overweight, and wish to lose weight for the sake of your health, do the following:

1. Balanced diet

Focus on consuming a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and lean proteins. Have less amount of processed foods, sugary beverages, and snacks high in calories.

2. Regular exercise

Engage in a combination of aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, and swimming, and strength training to burn calories, build muscle, and improve your overall fitness. Dedicate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week.

3. Portion control

Be mindful of portion sizes so that you do not overeat. Use smaller plates, bowls, and other utensils. Also, pay attention to hunger and fullness cues so that you don’t consume too much calorie.

4. Hydration

Stay hydrated by drinking water and healthy juices throughout the day. There may be times when you may be thirsty, but end up thinking you are hungry. So, if you drink a good amount of water, it can help to reduce the amount of calorie you consume and support your weight loss efforts.

5. Consistency and patience

Sustainable weight loss will not happen immediately. It takes time and consistency so, set realistic goals, track progress, and be patient with yourself, Focus on making long-term lifestyle changes rather than going for fad diets or quick fixes.

While obesity and being overweight share similarities, they differ in terms of associated health risks, BMI range, impact on functionality, and treatment approaches. Adopt healthy habits for safe and sustainable weight loss if you are struggling with obesity or overweight.

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