Normal Weight Obesity

You may be feeling happy and satisfied about your health because your body weight is seen as normal. But, according to a Mayo Clinic study, some people may look normal, but may actually be fat inside. This is called normal weight obesity. If you have this condition, you may face the same problems faced by overweight and obese people.

Internal Fat

About 30 million people in the United States suffer from normal weight obesity, which means they have an undesirable body fat percentage. Women with normal height and weight should not have body fat greater than 30 percent,for men not greater than 25 percent.

Thin-looking people may carry internal fat, which is also called visceral fat. This fat surrounds vital organs and is found underneath muscle. The liver metabolizes this fat and converts it to blood cholesterol, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease.

The Mayo Clinic Study

The Mayo Clinic research studied more than 6,000 Americans over nine years. It found 20-30 percent of the respondents to be normal weight obese. The sufferers are at risk of contracting the same diseases that impact obese and overweight persons. These diseases include diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease and high cholesterol. The American Heart Association states heart disease is the primary killer in the U.S.

There are a few options in finding your body fat.

Waist Measurement

  • A cloth tape measure is used
  • Exhale normally keeping arms by side
  • Measure around the natural waist. Just above the hip bone and below the navel.
  • Women above 35 inches and men above 40 are considered high.

Skin Fold Test

  • Done by a trained professional
  • Calipers are used, usually found in gyms and wellness centers
  • Certain superficial areas on the body are checked and placed into a formula
  • Accuracy is determined by the ability of the professional
  • Acceptable ranges are under 31% for women and under 25% for men


  • Measured by an instrument using either your hands or your feet
  • Measures a small resisted electrical current that passes through your body
  • The higher fat, the more time the current takes to pass through


  • An underwater scale
  • The higher fat, the more you will float
  • Most reliable and the most expensive
  • Done mostly at research labs and universities

Exercising Will Help

If you are a normal weight obese person, do not lose heart. Start adopting healthy food habits today. Exercise can also reduce internal fat which surrounds organs. Moderate aerobic exercise done daily can prevent the accumulation of visceral fat. Vigorous exercise can reduce the existing amount of internal fat. Also recommended are resistance exercises that can build lean muscle tissue. To maintain metabolic rate and burn calories, strong and lean muscles are essential. Therefore, start adopting healthy habits to lose internal fat and become thin inside as well.



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