A simple answer can be found in the BMI (Body Mass Index). This is a formula that is used to estimate how healthy your current weight is. It does have a few flaws, but it is a good tool for most people. The formula can be stated as: lbs/in^2 X 703 (weight in pounds divided by height in inches, squared; multiplied by 703) or kg/m^2 (weight in kilograms divided by height in meters, squared).
Someone who is 5' 11" tall and weighs 210 pounds would have a BMI of approximately 29.28, which is on the high end of being overweight, and just short of being obese.
Here is how the math works out:
5' 11" = 71 inches
71 squared = 5,041
210 (the weight in pounds) divided by 5,041 = 0.041658
0.041658 X 703 = 29.28
If this person could get their weight down to 179 pounds, they would have a healthy BMI of about 24.96.
The BMI weight ranges break down as follows:
18.5 and under is considered underweight.
18.5 to 25.0 is normal.
25.0 to 30.0 is considered overweight.
30.0 and above is obese.
There are a few exceptions. As this is a simplified formula, those who are very tall or short can have skewed numbers. Also, muscle weighs more than fat, so a bodybuilder can get a rating that makes them appear less healthy than they are.
If you are overweight or obese, then you are at risk for a number of diseases, many of which can be fatal. Just a few of the diseases you may be at higher risk for include stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. You could try to treat all of these conditions individually, or you could decrease the risk of getting them by losing weight. So, it's not always a question of can obesity kill you, but how much longer you are likely to live if you lose weight.
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