Can you be overweight and still be healthy?

January 16, 2017 | by Nina Lundberg, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Imagine that you stepped on the scale this morning and noticed you’ve gained a few pounds since your last weigh-in.

In fact, you’ve gained maybe 10 or even 20 pounds since you finished college/got married/had kids.

Weight gain as we age is typical, but it’s important to keep it in check. If that extra 10 or 20 pounds has pushed you into the “overweight” category according to the Body Mass Index (BMI), you may want to lose it.

You may not be obese, and you’re certainly not wearing plus-size clothing, but those extra pounds can put you on a path to medical complications (including future obesity).

To help you decide whether you need to drop some weight, first analyze your personal stats. Figuring out your BMI is easy. There are a number of reliable calculators online that explain in detail what each category means.

Keep in mind that the BMI is not an exact calculation. It’s more like an estimate. People will fall into the category of “overweight” if they have a BMI between 25 and 29.9. When you’re in that category, your body is more likely to show metabolic syndrome, or symptoms caused by the extra weight such as higher blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar.

However, the calculator does not account for people with more muscle than body fat. Because of their muscle density, their weight may hit the “overweight” category but their bodies are slender.

What if you feel healthy, you exercise regularly and don’t have any pressing health problems, but you still fall into the overweight category? It’s a smart idea to lose the extra weight. It’s easier to slip into obesity when you’re overweight, and obesity can lead to problems beyond metabolic syndrome such as difficulty breathing or sleeping, joint pain and even some cancers.

It is possible to have metabolically healthy obesity – that is to be obese but have no symptoms such as high blood pressure or cholesterol. This, however, is rare. And those folks still run the risk that their excess weight will cause problems down the road.

You can get a general picture of your overall health by self-assessing your weight and physical fitness, but a visit with your primary care doctor will tell you definitively whether you need to get focused on living healthier.

Edward-Elmhurst Health can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Learn more about our weight-loss services.

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