What is Obesity?
Overweight and obesity are both names for weight ranges greater than what is healthy for a given height. These conditions of excess weight normally result from a sustained energy imbalance i.e. you eat more calories than you burn off through exercise.
Why should we be concerned about our weight?
In Ireland today, it is estimated that 16% of women and 20% of men are obese. A further 33% of women and 46% of men are overweight and could be on their way to becoming obese. Worryingly, a recent study showed that there is a high level of overweight and obesity in Irish school children and there has been a significant increase in the level of obesity over the last 15 years.
Obesity is a very serious problem with many complexities. At least 2,500 deaths can be attributed to it each year. Being overweight or obese has been shown to increase the likelihood of certain serious diseases and medical conditions for example:
How do I find out if I am overweight or obese?
|Breathing problems, such as asthma and sleep apnoea (when a person stops breathing for a short time during sleep). ||Cancer|
|Gallbladder disease and gallstones ||Gout|
|Heart disease and stroke||High blood pressure|
|Osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis which results from the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage (cushion between bones of joints) of one or more joints|
Below are two fairly quick and easy methods to help determine whether or not you are overweight or obese. In order to get an accurate measurement, you should consult a healthcare professional such as a GP or dietitian.
(a) Measure your body mass index (BMI)
For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are calculated using a ratio of weight and height. This is called the “body mass index” (BMI).
· An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
· An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
It is important to remember that although BMI is linked with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. As a result, some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat.
Click here to check your BMI.
(b) Waist Circumference
Another quick and easy method of estimating body fat and body fat distribution is your waist circumference. If you carry fat mainly around your waist, you are more likely to develop health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure than if you carry fat mainly in your hips and thighs.
How do I measure my waist circumference?
Click here to find out how to measure your waist circumference.
Remember simple steps can be taken to maintain your current weight or to help you loose weight. Please click healthy eating and physical activity for tips and information.