A weighty issue
The latest stats (2014-15) on the state of obesity and weight in Australia are alarming:
- 2/3rds of adults are overweight or obese
- 28% of adults are obese
- 1/4th of school-age children are obese
- 22,700 weight loss surgeries occurred
Even more worryingly, obese people may not be aware or in denial of their obesity.
In a UK study that took place over five years, it was found that an average of 10% of obese adults acknowledged their condition. Tellingly, those who were aware of BMI were more likely to recognise whether they were obese.
What is obesity and what are the health risks?
Obesity refers to weight and volume of fat.
Health risks associated with obesity are:
- Muscular-skeletal issues (from weight-bearing)
- Fatty liver
- Depression and anxiety
- Heart disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Sleeping difficulties
- Breathing difficulties
- Kidney disease
- Pregnancy issues
- Type 2 diabetes
How do we measure obesity?
There are two main methods to measure obesity:
BMI (Body Mass Index) is a score that derived by dividing your weight by your height in meters squared.
18.5-24.9 is the optimal, healthy weight range
25-29.9 is considered overweight
40+ morbidly obese
Measuring waist sizes can give an indication of how likely people are to be affected by obesity related chronic illnesses.
For men – a measurement of 94cm
For women – a measurement of 80cm
One-size fits most but not all
Different body shapes, heights, and muscle mass can make these measurements inaccurate. For example, a professional athlete may have enough muscle mass to be pushed into an obese rating.
If you’re a regular Joe or Joanna, both measurements are reliable indicators as to the state of your weight health.
How to check if you’re obese
Before you type your details into the calculator below, here’s how you can get the most accurate results.
Measuring your height – get a friend and a tape measure. Make sure you’re standing up straight, eyes level, shoulders back, chest out. Keep your feet flat, feeling the weight in your heels. Try not to sway.
Measuring your weight – your weight fluctuates during the day due to water loss and retention, drinking and food consumption. Measure three times during the day – morning, noon and night – and average out the results.
Once you’ve done that, have a go with our BMI calculator:
To measure your waist, first find the midway point between the top of your hip bone and your bottom rib.
Again, get a friend, but try using cloth or linen tape measure.
You can move your arms to make space but try not to lift them too high or throw off your posture.
Want to calculate your BMI?
Enter your height:
Enter your weight:
Your BMI is:
Your BMI classifies as:
Please note that the results produced by the BMI calculator should only be used as a guide and should not replace medical advice.
What do my results mean?
Underweight - BMI <18
Being underweight is associated with health problems like:
- Weakened immune system
- Respiratory and digestive diseases
- Certain types of cancer
To gain healthy weight, you should start eating regular, nutrient rich meals, and increasing health fat intake.
Healthy weight - BMI >18 25<
Congratulations! A healthy weight is key in reducing cancer risk, relieving and preventing depression and depressive symptoms, reduces stress, leads to better sleep, and much more.
It’s time to start thinking about your next health goal, whether it’s drinking more water during the day, taking on meditation, exercising more, or visiting health practitioners on a regular basis.
Overweight - >25 30< Obese - BMI > 30+
Being overweight or obese is reversible - here are the first steps to take:
Visit your GP – your local health practitioner will be able to diagnose your condition and test for other chronic conditions. They might prescribe medication for any associated conditions.
Change your eating habits – start eating more fruit and veggies and less empty calories. If you’re thinking about taking on a fad diet, consult with your GP first before undertaking it.
Remember, all fad diets have the same basic principles: consume less calories, eat healthier foods.
Start regular exercise – anything from walking to yoga to the gym is a good step. Exercise burns calories during and after the activity and can also improve aspects of mental health that may be contributing to your obesity.
Contact our wellness team – CBHS members on [x, y, z cover] are eligible for Better Living programs. These 1 on 1, individually tailored health journeys are run by health professionals. They can help you with goal-setting, advice, guidance, and support on your way to a healthier weight.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - Obesity
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – Risk Factors
My healthy community – Obesity statistics
Business Insider – Obesity awareness
Health Direct - Obesity
Heart Foundation – Waist measurement
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention – Obesity risks
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease – Risks of being overweight
Better Health Victoria - Obesity All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies. For full terms, click here.