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Normal weight obesity: A hidden health risk?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/normal-weight-obesity/AN02007
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Normal weight obesity: A hidden health risk?
Can you be considered obese if you have a normal body weight?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
Yes. You can have a normal weight, but if your body fat percentage is high enough, you may be considered obese — a situation known as normal weight obesity. Normal weight obesity means you may have the same serious health risks as does someone who's obese. Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat — not as weighing too much.
A formula called body mass index (BMI) is used to determine whether you're at a healthy weight for your height. But BMI doesn't tell the whole story because it doesn't measure body fat. So you may have a normal BMI while your body fat percentage is high enough to increase health risks.
Researchers are still trying to determine what percentage of body fat counts as obesity when your weight is normal, and whether guidelines should be different depending on your age and sex.
Like obesity, normal weight obesity may increase your risk of serious health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Abnormal cholesterol level, in which your triglyceride level is high, but your HDL ("good") cholesterol level is low
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
If you're concerned about your body fat percentage, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may want to measure your body fat and recommend additional tests to see if you're at risk of obesity-related conditions. Your doctor may also encourage you to start eating healthier and increase your activity level.Next question
How is brown fat different from other fat?
- Understanding adult obesity. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/understanding.htm. Accessed April 15, 2011.
- Defining overweight and obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/defining.htm. Accessed April 15, 2011.
- Romero-Corral A, et al. Normal weight obesity: A risk factor for cardiometabolic dysregulation and cardiovascular mortality. European Heart Journal. 2010;31:737.
- Marques-Vidal P, et al. Normal weight obesity: Relationship with lipids, glycaemic status, liver enzymes and inflammation. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. 2010;20:669.
- De Lorenzo A, et al. Normal-weight obese syndrome: Early inflammation? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85:40.