NHLBI Logo and Link spacer spacer
Home · Resources · Search · Textbook Map · NHLBI Home
Guidelines on Overweight and Obesity: Electronic Textbook
spacer spacer

Determination of Relative Risk Status Based on Overweight and Obesity Parameters

The table, below, defines relative risk categories according to BMI and waist circumference. It is important to note that these categories denote relative risk, not absolute risk. They relate to the need to institute weight loss therapy, and do not directly define the required intensity of risk factor modification. The latter is determined by estimation of absolute risk based on the presence of associated disease or risk factors.

Table IV-2: Classification of Overweight and Obesity by
BMI, Waist Circumference and Associated Disease Risk*


Disease Risk* Relative to Normal Weight and Waist Circumference


BMI (kg/m2)

Obesity Class

Men less than or equal to 102 cm ( less than or equal to 40 in.)

Women less than or equal to88
( less than or equal to 35 in.)

Men >102 cm
( >40 in.)

Women >88 cm
(>35 in.)


< 18.5





18.5 - 24.9





25.0 - 29.9





30.0 - 34.9



Very High


35.0 - 39.9


Very High

Very High

Extreme Obesity

greater than or equal to 40


Extremely High

Extremely High

* Disease risk for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and CVD.
+ Increased waist circumference can also be a marker for increased risk even in persons of normal weight.
< Back · Home · Next >

Please send us your feedback, comments, and questions
by using the appropriate link on the page, Contact the NHLBI.

Note to users of screen readers and other assistive technologies: please report your problems here.