“You have to lose weight.” Many people who have read these lines have probably heard these words through their doctor on some occasion. The words overweight and obesity are not exactly unknown in our society, being overweight becoming an increasingly serious and relevant problem and can have serious repercussions on our lives.
But … What are the differences between overweight and obesity? Let’s take a look at it throughout this article.
A question of health and nutrition
By overweight is meant a situation in which a subject weighs more than what is considered normative and in good health, taking into account his size, age and sex. As for obesity, it is a situation (classifiable as a disorder according to some authors) in which the subject in question maintains an excessive and generalized accumulation of body fat throughout the body.
In both cases, it is an excess of weight and body mass. And although many people who diet or exercise they do it mainly to conform to a beauty canon Specifically, the truth is that this problem goes much further: being overweight is a risk factor that facilitates the onset of different diseases and can even lead to death from heart or respiratory problems.
This excess often comes from a sedentary lifestyle and excessive intake, Although there are diseases, disorders or conditions in which obesity appears without the previous two factors (for example hyperplastic obesity, which occurs because the person has excess fat cells (which is caused by excess ingestion is due to the fact that the cells are larger in size, not because there are more).
Main differences between overweight and obesity
Overweight and obese they refer to excess body fat, Being closely related concepts and the main differences are the degree (the obese person has a higher proportion of fat than the overweight). In addition, at first glance, it is difficult to distinguish the boundaries between one and the other. But even though they are so similar, the truth is that there are a number of differences to keep in mind when recognizing them.
1. Body mass index (BMI)
The body mass index or BMI is a parameter used to assess the level of body fat. It is calculated by looking at the weight / height squared ratio. In this index we find one of the technical differences between overweight and obesity.
A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight or underweight of what is recommended and healthy, and can cause serious damage to health. Between 18.5 and 25 would be the BMIs that are considered normal weight, with a healthy ratio of weight to height. From values greater than 25, we would already enter to observe body mass greater than health.
Between 25 and 26.9 we would be between overweight in grade 1, from 27 to 29, 9 to overweight grade 2 (also called pre-obesity), between a BMI of 30 and 34.9 we would be in type 1 obesity and type 2 obesity would be BMI between 35 and 39.9. Finally, we would find that body masses with a BMI of 40 to 49.9 would be considered morbidly obese (or type 3), and one over 50 would be called extreme obesity or type 4.
In conclusion, one of the differences between obesity and overweight lies in the fact that, in terms of BMI, between 25 and 30 would be considered that the person in question is overweight and from a BMI of 30 we would speak of a case. obesity.
2. Level of risk
Another of the main differences between overweight and obesity, and in fact the most important, we find in the risk of maintaining these body fat levelsfor the health of the person who suffers from it.
Obesity has proven to be an important risk factor for the appearance of various pathologies.
Heart disease and arteriosclerosis are the most common and well-known (resulting in an increased risk of vascular and cerebrovascular events such as strokes and spills). too much high blood pressure, bone problems, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems such as bronchitis, Liver and kidney problems, sleep apnea or low back pain, sexual dysfunction and even fetal malformations in pregnant women. In addition, surgeries and the effects of anesthesia are more dangerous, there are more problems sleeping, and a greater tendency for anxiety and depression.
The risk of death from any of the above problems (especially cardiovascular and respiratory problems) is greatly increased compared to the normal weight population.
As to the level of risk, in the case of those people who would be in the so-called pre-obesity (with a BMI of around 27-29.9) would have a slight risk of suffering from the above problems. However, within obesity we can find that those with a BMI between 30 and 35 are at moderate risk, if they are between 35 and 40 high and if they are over 40 very high.
3. Interventions carried out
Another difference between the two can be found in the processing that is done to resolve it. In overweight, the main indications are exercise prescriptions and appropriate nutritional recommendations. This would also be recommended for people with obesity, although depending on the case and the risk of other problems appearing or worsening in this case. may require surgery.
The causes of both problems are multifactorial, with the interaction of various elements leading to overload or obesity. In general, one of the best known is the disruption of nutritional balanceBy consuming many more calories than we burn. In other words, eat a lot and / or poorly and exercise little to counter it. But this is not the only relevant factor. And there are also genetic causes, metabolic diseases or the use of drugs and substances.
The reason we added this aspect as a difference is that these people have certain genetic problems and / or developmental and metabolic diseases they tend to progress (if left unchecked) to obesity. On the contrary, being overweight that is not going to be more is usually more typical of situational factors (although there is some hereditary tendency as well).
5. Taking into account the disease
While both concepts are troubling, the truth is that obesity is already considered a disease or disorderWhile being overweight is a risk factor, but is not correctly identified as a disorder but as a condition.