Excess weight may lead to heart disease and diabetes
More than two-thirds of American adults are considered overweight or obese. Excess weight
may lead to heart disease and diabetes. Creating and following plans for healthy eating and physical
activity may help you improve your health. What is a healthy weight?
Body mass index (BMI) is one way to tell whether you are at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
It measures your weight in relation to your height. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is in the healthy range. A
person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and someone with a BMI of 30 or
greater is considered obese. Go to the tear-off tip sheet at the back of this
booklet to find a BMI table you can use to find your BMI score. You may also check the Resources
section at the end of this booklet for a link to an online tool for measuring BMI.
Another way to find out if you are at risk for health problems caused by overweight and obesity is to
measure your waist. If you are a woman and your waist is more than 35 inches, or if you are a man
and your waist is more than 40 inches, your risk of disease may be higher.
Extra weight can cause these health problems with
• gestational diabetes (high blood sugar during pregnancy)
• high blood pressure
• increased risk for cesarean section (C-section)
Talk to your health care provider if you have concerns
Why do people become overweight?
Over time, if you eat and drink more calories than your body uses or “burns off,” your body may store
the extra energy, leading to weight gain. Many factors may play a part in weight gain.
Some medicines, such as steroids (drugs used to reduce swelling) and some drugs for depression
and other psychiatric disorders, may lead to weight gain. Ask your health care provider or
pharmacist about the side effects of any medicines you are taking.