Obesity/Overweight Fact Sheet


Obesity/OverweightFact Sheet

What is Obesity/Overweight?

Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

More Information on Obesity Trends from CDC

Why Do You Need to Know Your BMI?

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is related to body fat. It is a tool for indicating weight status for all individuals (except children younger than two). For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called BMI. For most people, BMI correlates with amount of body fat.

  • An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
  • An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
  • Children BMI’s are calculated by gender and age specific growth charts.

How Do I Calculate My BMI?

BMI Indicator 

Or go to BMI Calculator.

See the following table for an example.


Weight Range



5’ 9”

124 lbs or less

Below 18.5


125 lbs to 168 lbs

18.5 to 24.9

Healthy weight

169 lbs to 202 lbs

25.0 to 29.9


203 lbs or more

30 or higher



It is important to remember that although BMI correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. As a result, some people, such as athletes, may have a BMI that identifies them as overweight even though they do not have excess body fat.

  • For more information, click here

What are the Health Consequences of Adult Obesity?

If you have a BMI greater than 25 for adults (age 20 or greater), you may have an increased risk of developing certain diseases, especially: coronary heart disease, hypertension, lipid disorders, type 2 diabetes, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea/respiratory problems, and some cancers.

What Causes Obesity/Overweight?

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Unhealthy eating patterns
  • Genetics, family history of obesity
  • Unhealthy family environment
  • Technological, social, economic and environmental changes that have reduced physical activity and increased food access and passive consumption.

Who Can Be Overweight?

Anyone can become overweight/obese. Infants with obese parents have an 80% chance of becoming obese.*

How Is Obesity/Overweight Diagnosed?

Obesity/overweight is usually diagnosed through regular doctor’s exams.

How to Prevent Obesity/Overweight?

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Encourage physical activity
  • Maintain appropriate weight
  • Involve all family members


If you think you are overweight/obese…, click here.  

For more information go to our Data Development section.

Community Nutrition/Obesity Prevention Division
Indiana State Department of Health
1-800-433-0746 or
Indiana Family Help Line

* Penn State Children’s Hospital