Obesity scale

Free tests are the best way to measure body fat.

The obesity scale below is based on worldwide obesity research, which has uncovered significant health risks for carrying excess body weight.

All of the research data and the ease and accuracy of testing give the obesity scale an advantage over body fat percentage testing. To get your results, you need your body mass index, waist circumference, and waist hip ratio.

These tests are free. All you need to do is step on a scale and take simple measurements of your waist and hips. Go to the articles for each of the 3 tests and follow the instructions. Then come back to this page and find your body weight classification.


Your results fit in one of 6 body weight categories.


#1 Healthy weight

Body mass index (BMI) score of 19-24 and normal waist circumference and / or Waist-Hip Ratio. Life expectancy is normal and health risks are relatively low for this group.

#2 Muscular

BMI 25 or higher and normal or low Waist-Hip Ratio. Low health risk just like the healthy weight group. Athletes or weightlifters with a lot of lean muscle mass fit in this category

#3 Overweight

BMI 25-29 and moderate to high waist circumference or Waist-Hip Ratio. Life expectancy may be 3 years less for an overweight person than for someone who has a healthy weight.*

The average person in the U. S. is in the overweight group. If you are overweight, losing about 2-3 inches off your waist and / or losing 25 pounds will put you in one of the healthy weight groups.

#4 Obese

BMI above 30 and either high waist circumference or high Waist-Hip Ratio. Research on obesity shows that life expectancy may be 6-7 years less for an obese person than for someone who has a healthy weight.* If you are in this group, you may still avoid the major health risks of obesity with exercise plans and a healthy diet. Consult with your doctor about the changes you’ll be making.

#5 Thin with high body fat

BMI less than 25 and high waist to hip ratio. Health risks are similar to the Overweight group. People who watch what they eat but don’t exercise may be in this category.

#6 Underweight with low body fat

: BMI of 18 or lower and low waist to hip ratio. For women, a BMI below 19 had only a slightly elevated health risk among non-smokers. For men, a BMI of 20 or less had an increased health risk of over 20%, even for non-smokers. If you do smoke and are in this group, your health risks are much higher.

Note: This obesity scale is meant to be used with 3 body weight and composition tests: Waist-hip ratio, body mass index, and waist circumference. Take all 3 tests for a complete body weight profile.


Health risk comparison across the obesity scale.

Studies and reviews show that risk of premature death can be twice as high or greater for morbidly obese people, and even being overweight makes a difference. For each chart on the body mass index, waist-hip ratio, and waist circumference pages the results are divided into high, moderate and low health risk groups by color:



Green is the low risk group, with the lowest risk of premature death from all causes. Yellow is the moderate risk group, with a 20-30% greater risk of premature death from all causes than those with a healthy body weight. Red is the highest risk group, with at least a 50% greater risk of premature death from all causes. (Dark red > 100%)*




Obesity scale notes: (1) *The health risk percentage values above are not exact, they are meant to give you an idea of how much your health risks may improve as your body weight and measurements improve.

(2) The most common causes of death for obese people are: heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and various forms of cancer. See references 1-4 and 6-8.

Return from obesity scale to physical fitness tests.

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Body composition tests

Waist hip ratio
Determine where you carry your weight. Find out how it affects your health.


Waist circumference
Compare your waist to averages for your gender, race.


Body mass index
Is your weight healthy for your size?





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