How can obesity be assessed?

Assessing obesity involves calculating body mass index, measuring waist circumference, and determining co-morbidities and associated risk factors.

Measuring the circumference of the waist in particular comes in handy while determining whether an individual falls under the normal or overweight based on BMI. Men above waist circumferences greater than 90 cm and women above 80 cm run the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease due to excess abdominal fat. Any individuals above these waist circumferences would fall into the risk category. And it is not necessary to measure waist circumference in individuals with BMIs =32.5 kg/m2

Classification of overweight and obesity by BMI and Associated Disease Risk (for Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, and Cardio-Vascular Diseases)

Description BMI
Normal 17.5-22.4
Overweight 22.5-27.4
Obese 27.5-32.4
Morbidly obese if with comorbid conditions > 32.5
Morbidly obese if without comorbid conditions > 37.5

Disclaimer: This BMI classification released in 2008 is based on India-specific guidelines with inputs from Ministry of Health (India), the Diabetics Foundation of India and other 20 national health organizations.