As we learn more about diabetes disease and body fat, it is clear that we each have a healthy body fat percentage we must now aim for, not just a healthy weight. Our body fat percentage is now a more important metric. Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.
Definitions for Adults
For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI). BMI or body mass index is used because, for most people, it correlates with what would be their healthy body fat percentage.
An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
Calculate your personal BMI.
The Relationship between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
Research strongly indicates that Type 2 Diabetes is very closely linked to obesity. In fact, as many as 97% of people with Type 2 diabetes have the disease as a result of obesity. Approximately 61% of the U.S. adult population can be categorized as overweight (that is about 97 million adults). This number has increased by 50% in the last two decades.
Learn more about your Healthy Body Fat Percentage.
There is very strong evidence that losing weight (as little as 5-10% of your bodyweight) can delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Losing weight helps to reduce blood glucose levels in many patients that have Pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, losing weight reduces the amount of fatty tissue in the body, which reduces the level of stress on the heart and other organs.
In order for obesity to lead to diabetes, a person does not necessarily have to be obese at the time of the diabetes diagnosis. In fact, childhood obesity has a very strong correlation to Type 2 diabetes. According to the Medical College of Wisconsin, as many as 25% of U.S. children are obese (not just overweight.)
Weight status category Percentile range
Underweight – Less than the 5th percentile
Healthy weight – 5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile
At risk of overweight – 85th to less than the 95th percentile
Overweight – Equal to or greater than the 95th percentile
Calculate the BMI for your child or teenager.
Keep in mind that once the body creates fat cells, the cells are not destroyed. Instead, the fat cells always remain in the body, just in different sizes. Therefore, parents need to be very careful about monitoring their weight and amount of body fat in their children in order to help them avoid getting Type 2 Diabetes. Always use to prefer body fat scales.
Obesity can and should be controlled (or eliminated) whenever possible. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help you try to lose weight. However, good nutrition and exercise are the best remedies to creating and sustaining a healthier lifestyle. Use our interactive modules to learn more about Sugars and Starches, How Your Digestive System Works and Diabetes.
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Consult your physician before beginning any diet or weight loss plan in order to ensure that it is right for you.
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