As exercise and positive healthy lifestyles continue to be adapted, bodyweight has been a metric to gauge health. The common question people ask is, “Am I overweight?” forgetting that there are many different ways to measure and determine the status of your health.

In this article we will discuss weight and tips to accurately assess if you are overweight.

The term “overweight”, under wrong or inaccurate parameters, is a subjective term to describe your body weight. In order to determine if you are overweight, you must consider body fat, muscle mass, water, and when you are measuring your body weight. Body fat and its location play a significant factor in valuing body weight.


Fat, although considered overtly negative,  is quite necessary for overall health.

However, having too much body fat or the locations of excess adiposity is not optimal. Muscle mass or lean body tissue will construe your body weight value as lean body tissue or skeletal muscle is denser and thus heavier than body fat. For example you can have a higher body weight but in turn you have low body fat and higher lean body tissue (muscle).

In addition, water retention and dehydration will dramatically alter your body weight measurement. Depending when you eat, how much fluid consumed, including alcohol, will alter how much you weigh instantaneously.

Remember the human body is comprised of 70% water.

BMI and Waist-to-Hip Ratio are two normal measurement tools to assess body weight and body fat. The most common and utilized assessment of weight and body composition is Body Mass Index (BMI). A BMI measurement is your body weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared.

After inputting your data into this formula, a measurement is provided that then places you in a category. For example, if your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2, you are considered in the normal range. However, if you are 30.0 to 34.9 kg/m2, your BMI is considered to be in the obese range.

There are significant flaws in this system

BMI does not tell the true story all the time. If you have high muscle mass and low body fat, you can be classified as obese; if you have high body fat, low muscle mass and average body weight, you can be classified as having a normal BMI.

The Waist-to-Hip Ratio is a practical and realistic assessment of body weight.

The Waist-to-Hip Ratio measures the circumference of your waist and divides the measurement by the circumference measurement of the hips.

Am I overweight_2

This tool might be the best and ideal assessment to determine if you are overweight. The increased girth around your abdomen has a correlation to a higher predisposition of Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular disease.

If your Waist-to-Hip Ratio measurement for a male is 0.85 cm or 0.75 cm for female, you are considered excellent and if you are at or greater than 0.95 cm for a male and 0.86 cm for female, you are at risk for health issues.

How does this information answer if you are overweight?

The answer is: body weight is relative. If you have higher percentage of lean body mass and low percentage of body fat, you can be considered obese. Conversely, if you have high percentage of body fat and lower percentage lean body mass, you can be classified as “normal” body weight, but you are definitely not healthy.

At the end of the day, do not concern or stress yourself over body weight. Focus on where girth and/or body fat is distributed, utilized the Waist-to-Hip Ratio.

If you have a higher amount of girth around your midsection, then be concerned.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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