obesity vs overweight

All you need to know about overweight vs obesity

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Losing and maintaining weight is a challenge to many people and this explains why obesity has significantly become a public concern. Over the years, the number of obese people has nearly tripled. According to the world obesity federation, obesity accounts for $850 billion in health care costs worldwide. Because of this pandemic, researchers and dieticians are spending the sleepless nights to come up with remedies like fitness programs and diet. Overweight vs obesity is based on Body Mass Index (BMI). A person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. However, Overweight is defined by a BMI of 25-29.9. Secondly, obesity is a medical condition where the body accumulates excess body fat causing a negative effect on health. This, however, is not the case with overweight.


This article brings you answers to questions you have always asked about obesity and overweight. First, let us define obesity and overweight.

What is overweight vs obesity?

The terms “overweight” and “obesity” refer to the weight that is higher than what is perceived to be normal or healthy for a given height.  As a matter of fact, the definition of obesity and overweight is hinged on BMI. For an individual to be classified as obese, his or her BMI must be 30 and above. On the other hand, one is classified as overweight when his or her BMI is between 25 and 29.9.

Measurement of overweight vs obesity 

Body mass index (BMI) is the measure of obesity and overweight. Body Mass Index (BMI) is the weight of an individual in kilograms, divided by the square of the individual’s height in meters. Therefore a high body mass index can imply high body fat. Below is a baseline measurement of bodyweight vs BMI

BMI of less than 18.5 implies underweight.

A BMI of 18.5 to <25, implies normal weight

For BMI 25.0 to <30, implies overweight.

If BMI is 30.0 or higher, it implies obesity.

What is the difference between obesity and overweight?

Like we have discussed above, the difference between obesity and overweight is based on Body Mass Index (BMI). A person with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. However, Overweight is defined by a BMI of 25-29.9.

Secondly, obesity is a medical condition where the body accumulates excess body fat causing a negative effect on health. This, however, is not the case with overweight.

What causes obesity and overweight?

The primary cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance. That is to say, the difference between calorie intake and calories burnt out of the body. People have changed to eating energy-dense food which is high in fats with less physical activity. This has made many vulnerable to obesity.


These changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are attributed to environmental and societal changes associated with the development and lack of supportive measures in health, food processing, agriculture, environment, and education sectors.


Apart from the energy imbalance, there are other causes of obesity and overweight which among others includes;


Lack of sufficient funds to afford a healthy meal as well as a healthy lifestyle.

This causes people to eat substandard foods. Such foods may contain toxins that can cause overweight.  At the same time, affording a gym may also be expensive for some individuals.



some people eat when they are sad, bored or stressed. In any of those states, an individual is most likely to eat inappropriately. This can lead to eating more calories than one can burn hence weight gain


Obesity or overweight can also be genetic 

In most cases, lifestyles and eating habits can come from our families. There is a likelihood of an individual being obese or overweight if he or she came from a family with obese victims.


Toxins due to pollution

Obesity or overweight can be attributed to air pollution, viruses, exposure to certain chemicals that can deposit toxins in our bodies. Toxins are believed to be one of the major causes of obesity and overweight.



What are the types of obesity?

According to researchers from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, People categorized as obese, as a single group, could be further subdivided into six more groups. This important discovery made the treatment of obesity simpler. This is because they discovered that each group or category within the obese people required a different treatment plan.

Basing on the responses the research team concluded that adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above could be subdivided into the following groups.

Heavy-drinking males

Despite the fact that the group was overweight, the group engages in healthy activities with average levels of physical body exercise

Younger healthy females

This happened to be the biggest group, the youngest and displayed the healthiest behavior

Physically sick but happy elderly

It’s characterized by high levels of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Exhibit low levels of anxiety and depression

Affluent healthy elderly

This group had the best health, although they had high blood sugar.

They engaged in some healthy activities

They had average alcohol consumption

Unhappy anxious middle-aged

Characterized by poor mental health

Mostly female

The group reported anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia

Lowest alcohol consumption

The group had physical body activities

Poorest health

It has the highest level of pain and fatigue

Individuals dealt with most chronic health conditions

High body mass index

Most financially challenged

What country has the most obese people?

An individual is said to be obese when his or her Body Mass Index is higher than 30. The total number of obese people in the world is approximately 2.1 billion, which is about 30% of the total population. This number has almost tripled over the years.

Obesity is not limited to particular parts of the world. As a matter of fact, 3 million people die each year of obesity worldwide. The difference is that some nations have higher proportions of obese people compared to others.

The country of Nauru is the most obese with 61% of the population having higher than 30 BMI. Nauru obesity is attributed to the western settlers who came to the south pacific countries and taught the societies in this region to prepare fast foods rather than traditional cultivation.

Can you be obese healthy?

To a small extent, one can be obese and metabolically healthy. It should be noted that not all weight gain is a result of fat. Sometimes an individual can put on muscle weight. With muscle weight, like for the case of weight lifters, body mass index can happen to be 30 or more.

What other diseases does obesity lead to?

The increase in the BMI increases the risk factors to the following diseases

  1. Cardiovascular disease like stroke
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cancers like breast cancer, prostate ovarian and many other forms of cancer
  4. Musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis which is a disease of the joints

What should obese people eat?

obesity vs overweight

In this article “overweight vs obesity”, we think that it is also important that obese people know the food that should dominate their diet.

With the weight loss goal, avoid a crash diet concentrate on a balanced diet.

whole-grain foods provide the fiber that is good for your muscle development. The more muscles a person has, the more calories they burn, which contributes to weight loss.

Take plenty of water. This not only removes waste from your body but also improves your metabolic rate to burn more calories.

A high protein meal gets you satisfied for a considerable amount of time, thereby avoiding craving which may lead to overeating.

With a high protein diet, ketones are released into the bloodstream which helps to lower appetite. As a matter of fact, High protein diet can help you build lean muscles when combined with exercise. Lean muscles help to burn more calories throughout the day, which can help you lose weight.

You also need to know the best postpartum diet for weight loss from here.

What if obesity is untreated?

Having excess pounds increases the risk factors to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and musculoskeletal disorders. When obese is not treated, it can cause premature death and substantial disability.

Should obese people exercise to lose weight?

Regular body exercise is very important to everyone regardless of their size. This helps to bring about a balance between calorie intake and calories expended. For the case of obesity, this is a great advantage. Body activity will help you burn the excess fats in the body for energy and hence weight loss.

How can obese people get started with the weight loss journey?

With obesity, taking the first step to losing weight and improving body health may seem to be the hardest to start. You do not have to lose the weight overnight, small and consistent steps towards weight loss are very important. Here is what you need to do.

  1. Find a compassionate doctor with expertise in treating extreme obesity. Connecting with your doctor is the best way to get on to the path to better health.
  2. Become active but begin with moderate body exercises. Your physician can advise you on what exercises to start with.

How can an obese person lose weight?


obesity vs overweight




For the case of obesity, a little stringent action has to be taken. This is not just shedding off extra pounds, but rather rescuing your health from the acritical danger zone. Here are some of the steps to help you walk towards your healthy weight.

  1. Start by tracking all foods that you consume. Reduce the number of calories that you eat. Consider approaching a dietician for help.
  2. Consider regular body exercise to burn as many calories as you can.
  3. Try medication. With extreme obesity, medication may be an alternative to help you speed up the weight loss journey. There are so many weight loss pills on the market. However, these come with side effects as well.
  4. For those of you who have tried the above options, for example, body activity, healthy diet, and medication, the American heart association recommend surgery. However, this option also has risks like dangers of blood clotting and infections


Overweight vs obesity is based on Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI of 30 or higher implies obesity and BMI of 25-29.9 implies overweight.

Secondly, obesity is a medical condition where the body accumulates excess body fat causing a negative effect on health. This, however, is not the case with overweight.

Medical experts recommend that people who have obesity should fight hard to lose weight. Having excess pounds increases the risk factors to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and musculoskeletal disorders.







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