Information for Patients
Do you know if your current weight is healthy? "Underweight", "normal", "overweight", and "obese" are all labels for ranges of weight. Obese and overweight mean that your weight is greater than it should be for your health. Underweight means that it is lower than it should be for your health. Your healthy body weight depends on your sex and height. For children, it also depends on your age.
A sudden, unexpected change in weight can be a sign of a medical problem. Causes for sudden weight loss can include
- Thyroid problems
- Infectious diseases
- Digestive diseases
- Certain medicines
Sudden weight gain can be due to medicines, thyroid problems, heart failure, and kidney disease.
Good nutrition and exercise can help in losing weight. Eating extra calories within a well-balanced diet and treating any underlying medical problems can help to add weight.
Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height.
Obesity happens over time when you eat more calories than you use. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for each person. Factors that might affect your weight include your genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods, and not being physically active.
Obesity increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers. If you have obesity, losing even 5 to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases. For example, that means losing 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases