Health Checkup

To diagnose obesity, your healthcare professional may recommend some tests. BMI measurement, using height and weight, is the recommended screening test for obesity. Obesity is defined as an age- and sex-specific BMI in the 95th percentile or greater.

These exams and tests often include:

  • A general physical exam
  • Measuring your waist size
  • Calculating your BMI
  • Taking your health history
  • Checking for other health problems

A General Physical Exam

This includes measuring your height; checking vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature; listening to your heart and lungs; and examining your abdomen.

Measuring your waist size

The distance around your waist is known as the circumference. Fat stored around the waist, sometimes called visceral fat or abdominal fat, may further increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Women with a waist that measures more than 35 inches (89 centimeters) and men with a waist that's more than 40 inches (102 centimeters) may have more health risks than people with smaller waist measurements. Like the BMI measurement, waist circumference should be checked at least once a year.

Calculating your BMI

Your health care professional checks your body mass index, called BMI. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. Numbers higher than 30 increase health risks even more. Have your BMI checked at least once a year. This can help pinpoint your overall health risks and what treatments may be right for you.

Taking your health history

Your healthcare team may review your weight history, weight-loss efforts, physical activity, and exercise habits. You also may talk about your eating patterns and appetite control. Your healthcare professional may ask about other conditions you've had, medicines you take, your stress levels, and other issues about your health. They may also review your family's health history to see if you may be more likely to have certain conditions.

Checking for other health problems

If you have known health problems, your healthcare team will evaluate them. Your healthcare professional also will check for other possible health problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, underactive thyroid, liver problems, and diabetes.

Gathering this information will help you and your healthcare team choose the type of treatment that will work best for you.