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Obesity is a term used by professionals to describe the condition of someone who is overweight with a high degree of body fat.

It's of particular concern among doctors because being obese can increase your risk of developing serious and potentially life-threatening diseases such as diabetes.

Here you can discover more about the risks associated with obesity and what support is available to help you lose weight.

How do I know if my weight poses a health risk?

The way professionals assess your weight is by calculating body mass index (BMI). This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres. A BMI between 30 and 40 is considered obese. In addition, women with waists of over 80 cm (32 inches) and men with waists of over 94 cm (37 inches) are considered obese.

Use the NHS Choices healthy weight calculator to calculate your BMI.

BMI healthy weight calculator

What are the risks associated with obesity?

You can increase your risk of developing diseases and health problems such as:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • osteoarthritis
  • some types of cancer, such as breast and colon cancer
  • back problems
  • impaired fertility.

Obesity and pregnancy

Being obese during pregnancy could have serious implications. Find out more at NHS Choices (obesity in pregnancy).

Obesity - pregnancy guide

What to do if you are concerned about obesity

Excess weight is caused by eating too much of the wrong types of food and not getting enough exercise. Calorie-controlled diets and increased physical activity are great places to start, but many of us need help to stick to a healthy programme. If you are very overweight you may need medical treatment or interventions.

Obesity levels in the UK and South Gloucestershire are increasing in all age groups. We're working with South Gloucestershire Council and other organisations to prevent obesity-related disease and support the local community to adopt healthier lifestyles.

  • Read more about the causes, treatments and risks associated with obesity at NHS Choices (Obesity).
  • Visit your GP for advice on treatments and diets. If you have health issues, are pregnant, or you're not familiar with dieting or exercise, you should seek the help of your GP before starting a diet or an exercise programme.
  • Change to a healthier diet. Read advice on weight-loss and healthy eating at NHS Choices.

Support for people with diabetes

Obesity can increase your chances of developing diabetes. For more information on the symptoms, treatment and management of diabetes go to NHS Choices (Diabetes) and Diabetes UK.

Diabetes, type 2 - NHS Choices

Go to Diabetes UK

Support for people with stroke and heart disease

Obesity can increase your chances of heart disease and stroke. Read more information on the symptoms, treatment and long-term management of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Advice is also available at the Stroke Association and the British Heart Foundation.

Healthy eating and lifestyles

Stroke Association advice

British Heart Foundation advice

More about the causes of obesity