About 55% of the adult American population, or 97 million people, are either overweight or obese, according to the first federal guidelines for the treatment for weight loss and obesity released Wednesday by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
According to the report, a combination of factors should be used to determine if an individual is overweight, including body mass index (a measure of weight in relation to height), waist circumference, and a patient's risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity.
The guidelines define overweight as a body mass index of 25 to 29.9 and obesity as a body mass index of 30 or more, which is consistent with the official guidelines of many other countries, according to a statement issued by the NHLBI. Body mass index is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms (multiply weight in pounds by 0.454) by the square of height in meters (multiply height in inches by 0.0254).
A body mass index of 30 is equal to approximately 30 pounds overweight. For example, a body mass index of 30 is equivalent to a person 6-feet tall weighing 221 pounds.
The NHLBI estimates that obesity-related disease costs the US about $100 billion each year. The institute stressed that the most successful strategies for weight loss include calorie reduction, increased physical activity, and behavior therapy designed to improve eating and physical activity habits.
COMMENT: Some individuals believe that these numbers were changed to aid the pharmaceutical companies in justifying physicians to prescribe yet more medication for obesity. This is quite sad as there will likely never be a drug solution for this problem that does not have severe consequences. Just look at the phen-fen disaster from last year. It is a sad tragedy though that much of this extra weight could be relatively easily lost if people only understood the dangerous consequences of excess carbohydrates.
A simple way to measure your body mass and ideal weight can be found at: