Defining Obesity Body Mass Index

There is general agreement that BMI, which is the weight adjusted for height, is the best way to initially evaluate patients for obesity. BMI, generally expressed as kg/m2, is easily determined using measured height and weight and a table such as the one provided in the NHLBI and North American Association for the Study of Obesity's (NAASO, the Obesity Society) Practical Guide on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults (Table 1) (35). An individual patient can then be placed in a risk category based on the BMI (Table 2). A healthy weight is defined as a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, with overweight being defined by a BMI between 25 and 29.9 and obesity being the appropriate diagnosis when the BMI exceeds 30. The BMI is widely advocated for diagnosis and risk stratification because of its documented association with adverse health consequences and ease of determination in usual clinical practice.

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