Last Updated: October 12, 2022

Overweight is characterized as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9. Having overweight is associated with increased risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease. However, this may not be the case in people with increased lean mass (e.g., athletes or weight lifters).

Overweight falls under theFat Losscategory.

What is overweight?

Overweight refers to weighing more than what is considered normal or healthy for a given height. People with overweight are at a higher risk of negative health outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and mortality.[1][2][2] As of 2017–2018, approximately 31.1% of adults in the United States have overweight.[3] Worldwide, 39% of adults are estimated to have overweight as of 2016.[4]

How is overweight diagnosed?

Overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 kilograms per meters squared (kg/m2); a person’s BMI is calculated by dividing their weight by the square of their height. More specifically, a person with:[5]

  • A BMI of <18.5 is “underweight”
  • A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is “normal weight”
  • A BMI of 25 to 29.9 has “overweight”
  • A BMI of 30 to 34.9 has “class I obesity”
  • A BMI of 35 to 39.9 has “class II obesity”
  • A BMI of >40 has “class III obesity”
What are some of the main medical treatments for overweight?

A person’s current health status and goals influence whether or not they should lose weight.

For people with overweight in addition to other cardiometabolic risk factors (high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, dyslipidemia, etc.), weight loss is recommended. Typical treatment entails lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and changing dietary patterns. Weight loss medications are sometimes used in people with overweight, but are more commonly used in people with obesity. Other weight-related comorbidities (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure) may be managed with medications such as statins, antihypertensives, and diabetes medications.

On the other hand, if a person has overweight but does not have cardiometabolic risk factors, they are encouraged to maintain their weight rather than lose it.[6][5]

Have any supplements been studied for overweight?

Some supplements that have been studied for weight loss in people with overweight include but are not limited to conjugated linoleic acid, L-carnitine, and green tea extract. However, the evidence is insufficient to recommend them for weight loss.

How could diet affect overweight?

A general recommendation for weight loss is to be at a 500–750 kilocalorie deficit daily. Because many diets can be effective, the “right” diet will be different for everybody. In general, finding an easy-to-follow diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein will allow for sustainable weight loss and health.[7] The most effective diet for weight loss is one that a person will adhere to.[8]

Are there any other treatments for overweight?

Although beneficial for weight loss, aerobic and resistance training can also help with issues that may come with overweight, such as lowering blood pressure, improving insulin sensitivity, decreasing appetite, and enhancing quality of life.[9] Time-restricted feeding may also be effective for weight loss and improving cardiometabolic risk factors in people with overweight.[10][11]

What causes overweight?

Simply put, overweight results from having a positive energy balance — consuming more energy from food than the body expends. However, many variables can impact calorie intake and energy expenditure, including genetics, socioeconomic status, physical activity, and the gut microbiome.[12]

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