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The Difference Between Being Overweight And Obese

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, in 2011, African Americans were 1.5 times as likely to be obese as Non- Hispanic Whites. In particular, African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. – about four out of five African American women are overweight or obese.

Media is filled with both the words “obese” and “overweight,” but do you know the difference between the two?

Overweight vs. Obese

According to Mayo Clinic, being overweight or obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a particular height. The terms are also an attempt to identify the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

  1. Doctors usually define “overweight” as a condition in which a person’s weight is 10%-20% higher than “normal,” as defined by a standard height/weight chart, or as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30.
  2. Obesity usually means a person’s weight is 20% or more above normal weight or as a BMI of 30 or more.

Morbid Obesity. This means a person is either 50%-100% over normal weight, more than 100 pounds over normal weight, or sufficiently overweight to severely interfere with health.


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