What are the health problems?

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Health Risks of Being Overweight

Overweight and obesity may increase the risk of many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. If you are pregnant, excess weight may lead to short- and long-term health problems for you and your child.

This fact sheet tells you more about the links between excess weight and many health conditions. It also explains how reaching and maintaining a normal weight may help you and your loved ones stay healthier as you grow older.

What kinds of health problems are linked to overweight and obesity?

Excess weight may increase the risk for many health problems, including

  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease and strokes
  • certain types of cancer
  • sleep apnea
  • osteoarthritis
  • fatty liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • pregnancy problems, such as high blood sugar during pregnancy, high blood pressure, and increased risk for cesarean delivery (C-section)

How can I tell if I weigh too much?

Gaining a few pounds during the year may not seem like a big deal. But these pounds can add up over time. How can you tell if your weight could increase your chances of developing health problems? Knowing two numbers may help you understand your risk: your body mass index (BMI) score  and your waist size in inches.

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Body Mass Index

The BMI is one way to tell whether you are at a normal weight, are overweight, or have obesity. It measures your weight in relation to your height and provides a score to help place you in a category:

  • normal weight: BMI of 18.5 to 24.9
  • overweight: BMI of 25 to 29.9
  • obesity: BMI of 30 or higher
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