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How do you know if you’re obese?

Find out if you’re fat or just big boned.

One of the great things about humans is that we are all different shapes, sizes, and personalities. But despite these differences, one thing is becoming increasingly common – nearly two-thirds of us are considered to be overweight or obese and in Staffordshire, we’re no different.

This means that the majority of us are putting our health at risk because we either eat too much or do too little exercise, or, in many cases both!

Whilst we may not think this is a problem, it really is. Being overweight or obese causes all sorts of health issues like heart problems, strokes, diabetes and some cancers.

Basically, being fat can make us ill and shorten our lives.

Is being obese the same as being overweight?

Both these terms mean that someone is heavier than would be considered healthy.

Overweight is used to describe people who are a little heavier and obese describes people who are a lot heavier than is healthy.

How do we know if we are overweight or obese?

For some people, it’s obvious that they weigh more than is healthy, but for others, it can be difficult to recognise that they are unhealthily heavy.

Work out your Body Mass Index (BMI)

The most accurate way of knowing if you are putting your health at risk by weighing too much is to calculate your Body Mass Index. This is a recognised measure which takes account of your height and weight.

You can use the BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your score.

For most adults, a BMI of:

  • 18.5 to 24.9 means you’re a healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight
  • 30 to 39.9 means you’re obese
  • 40 or above means you’re severely obese

Measure around your waist

Another really simple way to work out if you are carrying too much weight to be healthy is to measure around your waist.

Generally, men with a waist circumference of 94cm (37in) or more and women with a waist circumference of 80cm (about 31.5in) or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems.

Fighting the Fat

If you’re concerned about your weight, there’s a whole host of information, advice and guidance online to get you back on the right track. What’s available in Staffordshire?

But managing your weight is not necessarily straight forward. It can be influenced by the decisions you make and the environment you live in.

The Big Fat Chat

Staffordshire’s Big Fat Chat is a public debate around obesity and whose responsibility it is to do something to about it. Yours? Governments? Retailers? Employers?

What do you think?

Leave you thoughts and comments here and join in on social media. Our Twitter hashtag is #bigfatchat


  1. Thomas Cook

    February 8, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    BMI is a terrible way to check your health.

    • Big Fat Chat Team

      February 8, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      BMI is currently used by healthcare professions to classify whether or not you are obese. Having said that, this does not mean it is the best way to check your health.

      What other ways would you suggest Thomas?

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More in Big Fat Chat

Staffordshire’s Big Fat Chat is a public debate being run by Staffordshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board. It’s about hearing your opinions on how we should tackle obesity in Staffordshire.

We’ll use your views, alongside other research and evidence, to agree a joint plan to tackle obesity across the county.

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