questionshow do you define "overweight" and "obese"?


In my mind, anyone whose waist circumference is bigger than their chest circumference is overweight. Maybe that's harsh, but it just seems overweight to me.

I don't consider being a little overweight a bad thing though, and am not judgements about it at all. Most "overweight" people are not in any serious health risk, can function normally, and, in some cases, are more attractive to their significant other with "a little more to love", heh heh. That's totally fine.

I'd define someone as obese if their weight issue significantly affects their ability to function as a normal person. Like if they struggle to simply climb 9 or 10 flights of stairs. If you can't do that without breathing heavily or needing to stop for a second, I think there's a problem....


BMI oversimplifies the question and doesn't take into account bone density and muscle mass. But regardless of that debate, why does society need to have definitions? The medical field needs to be able to identify whether a persons weight is endangering their health. But for everyday people to be grappling with that definition smacks of prejudice. Labels are tools for judging, and they hurt us all in the end.


I would look more at body fat percentage than BMI. This article is pretty good.


Overweight = fat

Obese = faaaaaaaaaaaat


@dmaz: By your definitions, I was neither overweight, nor obese when I weighed 330 lbs. Cool!

My definition of overweight is when you weigh more than you should. That may or may not be visible to others. Some people appear to be overweight when they are not, and vice versa.

If I had to describe obese, I would say a woman of average height that appears to weigh more than 200 lbs. For a man of average height, probably that appears more than 250 lbs. Appearances can be deceiving, but I know generally what those weights look like. This is not a judgment, but trying to define for the sake of answering the question.

There is never a weight where anyone should have the right to be rude to you.


If you jiggle AT are overweight. If your fat overflows from your jeans, you are obese.


To me obese is a medical condition. I only think of someone as obese when their weight is/potentially causing serious medical complications.

As for overweight, that one is tougher, but I guess it would be when you're above average weight for your height/age. I don't think being a little overweight is a big deal.


@johnnys13: I see people everyday whose "fat overflows from their jeans" that are not obese, they just need to get a pair of jeans that fit!!

I typically think of obese when I see people who are so heavy they have a hard time getting around.

I have a harsher definition of overweight because I am typically apply it to how I feel about myself. If I am heavier than I want to be and can't fit nicely into the size clothes I want to wear, then I am overweight.


Obese = Kirsty Alley before Jenny Craig
Overweight - Kirsty Alley After Jenny Craig


How do I define it? Well, I'll let the CDC define it for me...


These are clinical terms:

Overweight: A BMI greater than 25

Obese: A BMI of 30 or greater

Morbidly Obese: A BMI of 40 or greater

Yes, I understand that these can overstate obesity in some individuals. These calculations are designed to be used on a population, for risk stratification. There are always exceptions, but they are not good to use as examples to live by. Just because Winston Churchill was obese, never exercised, ate horribly, had untreated depression, always had a cigar in his mouth yet lived to 90 doesn't mean you should do the same.

In a related note, one of my favorite Churchill quotes:

WOMAN: Mr. Churchill, you, sir, are drunk.
WC: Indeed I am. And you madam, are ugly. In the morning, however, I shall be sober.


"overweight" is a chick I'd still bang
"obese" is a chick I'd bang with a hammer


I am 6'5" tall and I weigh in at 215 lbs. I feel great and think that my weight is ideal for my build. However, according to a BMI, I am overweight by 25 lbs. I don't know where I could possibly slim down to lose 25 lbs. I could see 5-10 lbs maybe, but 25? Really?

At any rate, who cares what others think? If you're happy with how you look, then to Hell with anyone else.


I'm overweight, other people are obese.


To me it's: Overweight - People enjoy being around you because are a jolly person.

Obese - People enjoy being around you because provide shade.


Wow, the trolls came out in full force on this one.