Do You Know the
Health Risks of
WIN Weight-control Information Network
U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
What are the risks to my health
from being overweight?
Weighing too much may increase your risk for developing many health
problems. If you are overweight or obese, you may be at risk for:
type 2 diabetes
coronary heart disease and stroke
• metabolic syndrome
certain types of cancer
fatty liver disease
• pregnancy complications
You may be able to lower your health risks by losing weight,
doing regular physical activity, and eating healthfully.
Body Mass Index
Body mass index (BMI) is a tool that is often used to determine
whether a person’s health is at risk due to his or her weight. BMI is a
ratio of your weight to your height. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is consid-
ered healthy; a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight; and a BMI
of 30 or more is considered obese.
You can use the table on the following page to determine your BMI.
Find your height in the left-hand column labeled “Height.” Move
across to your weight. The number at the top of the column is the
BMI for that height and weight. Pounds have been rounded off.
If you are over-
weight, you are
more likely to
You may be able
to improve your
health by losing
as little as 10 to
Body Mass Index Table
Another way to determine if your weight is placing
your health at risk is to measure your waist. Waist
measurement does not determine if you are over-
weight, but it does indicate if you have excess fat in
your abdomen. This is important because extra fat
around your waist may increase health risks even
more than fat elsewhere on your body.
Women with a waist measurement of more than
35 inches and men with a waist measurement of
more than 40 inches may have an increased risk
for obesity-related diseases.
Type 2 Diabetes