Overweight vs. Obese

Both Overweight and Obesity imply a condition of excess weight of a person.

Being overweight means having more body weight than is considered normal or healthy for one’s age or build.

On the other hand, obesity is the condition of having excess amount of body fat with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30.

While an overweight person will carry excess weight, he may or may not have excess accumulation of fat.

Comparison chart

What is it?A condition marked by excessive generalized deposition and storage of fat, with a BMI (Body mass index) of over 30.A condition where the person weighs more than what is considered normal for that height, age and sex.
BMI rangeA person is considered obese when BMI is over 30.A person is considered overweight when their BMI is between 25 and 29.9.
Risk factorsCoronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertensionDepression, high blood pressure.
Remedies / TreatmentReduce calories, Exercise and in extreme cases surgeryExercise, reduced intake of food.
CausesMore intake, eating fast foods, stress, depression, hormonal imbalance, sedentary lifestyleMore intake of food than is expended by the body, genetics
OccurrenceMore than 300 million people are obese across the worldAround 1 billion people are estimated to be overweight across the globe.
GeographicallyMore prominent and on the increase in North America, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, Australasia and ChinaGlobally
In childrenAround 5% of the 22 million overweight children under five are clinically obese.22 million children under five are overweight

What is Obesity?

The medical definition of obesity in an adult is as follows:

Obesity is a condition where an individual accumulates excessive fat in the body, indicated by a body mass index of 30 or greater.

Obesity is excess fat compared to lean body mass, or a body weight that is 30 percent over the ideal weight for a specific height. A person is obese when the amount of adipose tissue is sufficiently high.

What is BMI?

The range that is considered “normal” or healthy weight depends upon a person’s height. It is natural for taller people to weigh more.

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is a number that is calculated based on both the height and weight to determine if the weight is high or low compared with what you would expect for that height.

***BMI indicator of body fatness, and is used as a screening tool for weight issues.

How to Calculate BMI

BMI = W / (H2)


W is the person’s weight (in kilograms, not pounds)

H is the person’s height (in meters).

In other words, BMI is a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of height (in meters).

What does BMI indicate?

Adults are grouped into the following categories based on BMI (body mass index):

  • BMI less than 18.5 : Underweight
  • BMI 18.5 to 24.9: Healthy weight range
  • BMI 25.0 to 29.9: Overweight
  • BMI more than 30: Obese
    • BMI 30–35: Moderately obese (Obese Class I)
    • BMI 35–40: Severely obese (Obese Class II)
    • BMI > 40: Morbidly obese (Obese Class III)

This BMI chart shows BMI ranges for different height and weight combinations. Height can be in meters or feet and inches; weight can be looked up both in kilograms and pounds.
It should be noted, however, that BMI calculations can be misleading. Those considered overweight or obese may in comes cases be healthier than someone who appears to be conventionally healthy.

Overweight and its Causes

Overweight is weighing more than the typical weight range given your age, sex, and height. Being overweight does not necessarily imply excess fat. People like athletes and bodybuilders can be overweight but not obese.

Overeating is not the only reason someone might be overweight;

other causes include a sedentary lifestyle with no exercise, metabolic or eating disorders, or medical conditions like thyroid problems or other types of hormonal imbalance.

Disabilities that inhibit exercise, and food allergies can also contribute to someone being overweight or even obese.

Psychological conditions can further contribute to weight issues and make treating them difficult. For example, it is possible for someone who is bulimic to be overweight at the same time.


Obesity and overweight conditions are a major risk factor for serious health problems including:

  • coronary heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • depression and other social problems.
  • Obesity is an excess of body fat sufficient to shorten one’s life span and make one susceptible to a greater amount of illness.

Caloric imbalance that results to these conditions often develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

  • A combination of an excessive nutrient intake and a sedentary lifestyle are the main cause for the rapid acceleration of obesity.


The safest and most effective way to lose weight in both cases is to reduce calories (balanced diet) and increase physical activity.

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