Assessment of obesity

Body mass index

The body mass index or  BMI  is a ratio of the weight (measured in kilograms) of a person divided by the square of his/her height (measured in meters). The index is simple to calculate, correlates to fatness and is applicable to both men and women.

A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight and 30 or above is considered obese.

Standard height to weight tables

Standard height to weight tables give the ideal body weight of a person depending on the height, age and sex of the person.

Waist to Hip ratio

Waist to Hip ratio is an important cardiovascular risk indicator for obese people. A person with higher circumference at the waist looks like an apple, whereas the person with more fat around the hip looks like a pear. Obese males usually have apple shape while obese women tend to have pear shape, though the opposite can also apply. The former (apple) has been associated with greater cardiovascular risk than the latter (pear).

Skin Fold Thickness

There is a lot of fat that is stored under the skin, depending on how fat a person is. A special type of caliper is used to pinch a fold of skin to see how far apart the two ends of the calipers remain, this gives an indirect measure about how fat a person is. This test is repeated in specific parts of the body and the average gives an idea about the degree of obesity.