Difference Between Overweight and Being Obese

Being either overweight or obese can increase the chance of a number of diseases. But what is the difference between being overweight and being obese? Both are conditions where there is some excess weight involved, but overweight and obese are two different conditions altogether. But more often than not, people are not aware of these differences. Here are a few points of differences between being obese and being overweight, which will help you to differentiate between the two conditions better.

difference between overweight and being obese

Difference Between being Obese and Being Overweight

There are certain important points of difference between obesity and overweight. They are as follows

  • Let us first see what do the words obesity and overweight mean. Being obese is a condition where excessive generalized fat is stored in the body. On the other hand being overweight is a situation where a person’s weight is more than what is considered as normal for his height, sex, and age.
  • Generally a person is called overweight when his body mass index or BMI is somewhere between 25 and 29.5. A person with BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.
  • However, BMI for teenagers or children are calculated differently than it is calculated in the adults. The comparison of a child’s BMI-for-age percentile with other people from his age group and sex are taken into account. Therefore children or teenagers having 85th to 95th percentile of BMI are considered overweight, while people with 95th percentile or greater BMI are considered as obese.
  • The causes of obesity can be different from the causes of the condition of being overweight. The causes of obesity are several, like excessive consumption of food, stress, hormonal imbalances, depression, etc. On the other hand, condition of being overweight is caused by more intake of food that can be used by the body and genetics.
  • Interestingly, obesity is more common in specific areas of the globe, like the USA, Eastern Europe, United Kingdom and such areas, whereas, being overweight as a syndrome can be seen throughout the world. The reason for this demographical positioning has a link with the above mentioned reasons for both the conditions.

Thus it can be seen that though both obesity and being overweight means, fat in excess of what is considered necessary for a human body, leading to storage of excessive weight, both the conditions are different from each other on many points, and thus should not be used interchangeably.