Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Obesity Evaluation

The evaluation of obesity begins with a history and physical examination.

Physical findings in someone with obesity may include:

  • Weight more than 30 percent greater than normal for height
  • Body mass index over 30

Tests that may be used to evaluate obesity include:

Obesity Body Mass Index

The body mass index (BMI) is the most common measurement used to make the diagnosis of obesity.

BMI Facts

  • A person with a BMI that is between 18 and 24.9 is normal.
  • A person with a BMI over 25 is overweight.
  • A person with a BMI over 30 or more is obese.
  • The higher the BMI, the greater the risk for certain diseases, including:
  • The BMI should be checked every two years.
  • Those who are very tall or very muscular may have a calculated BMI that is more difficult to interpret.

Obesity Waist Measurement

The ratio of hip-to-waist size has been used to define obesity and disease risk. Experts now believe that waist measurement alone is a more important reflection of health risk than that of the traditional waist-hips ratio.

Facts about waist measurements:

  • A waist measurement greater than 35 inches adds additional heart disease and diabetes risk to those with a BMI that is over 30.
  • The waist measurement is not reliable in those with a BMI that that is less than 25.

Continue to Obesity Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Obesity References
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  5. Tremblay A, Therrien F. Physical activity and body functionality: implications for obesity prevention and treatment. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2006 Feb;84(2):149-56. [16900940]
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