Doctors use body mass index, or BMI, to help determine who is overweight or obese. Although it isn't a perfect measurement, it is free and easy to calculate so it is good for screening patients. If you have a high BMI, you are considered obese, which puts you at higher risk for a number of health conditions.
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If your BMI is 34.7, you are considered obese. The cutoff for obesity is a BMI of 30 or above. This means you may have too much body fat, and should try to lose weight to lower your body fat levels. Your doctor can help you come up with a weight loss plan.
BMI classifications tend to overestimate the body fat of athletes and those with a lot of muscle but underestimate the body fat of the elderly. However, if you have a BMI over 30, you probably have at least some excess body fat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Being obese puts you at higher risk for health conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, gallbladder disease, certain cancers, dyslipidemia, reproductive problems and sleep apnea or other respiratory problems. Losing even a small amount of weight can lower your risk for these conditions, so it is worth trying to lose weight even if you have a lot to lose.
If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, work to control these risk factors for heart disease as you try to lose the extra weight you are carrying. Speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian to design a diet that is healthy for you and contains foods you like to eat, and increase the amount of time you are active each day.