There are two easy methods to determine whether or not a person is within a health weight range or whether they can be considered medically obese. If you are seeking weight-loss treatments, these tests are a good starting point.
Body Mass Index, commonly abbreviated to BMI is calculated from your height and weight using a mathematical formula. It is an easy way for doctors to assess how overweight or obese a patient is. BMI = weight in kg / height in metres 2
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
Overweight = 25-29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
BMI is a good way of assessing body fat levels for the average person. One should bear in mind that it is just an average and does not take into account muscle mass. This means that the BMI for muscular people is an overestimate of their body fat and for groups who have less muscle, the calculation may underestimate the true BMI.
Another way of assessing obesity is to measure your waist size. Coronary heart disease is known to be associated with a large waist size, which indicates an accumulation of fat in the central region of the body.
Of course, the right size waist depends a lot on what type of figure you have and whether you're tall or petite, apple shaped or pear shaped. When most people put on weight, the fat is stored around the hips (pear shaped) or the middle (apple shaped). If you're overweight and apple shaped you are at higher risk of health problems than if you're overweight and pear shaped.
Find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips and measure in the middle. For most people this is where their tummy button is.
If this is over 37 inches / 94 cms (for the average adult man) or over 32 inches / 81cms (for the average adult woman) you're at a higher risk of health problems.
These methods are not exact and by no means definitive. They do serve as a very useful guideline and can let you know if you should be seeking further weight loss advice.