Diagnosing Normal Weight Obesity: What You Need to Know

By FitLifeYou - April 26, 2023
Diagnosing Normal Weight Obesity: What You Need to Know

Have you ever heard of normal weight obesity? It might come as a surprise, but being slim doesn't necessarily mean you are healthy. Normal weight obesity refers to individuals who have a normal BMI but have high body fat percentage, which puts them at risk of developing obesity-related health issues. In this article, we'll discuss the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of normal weight obesity, and what you can do to prevent it.

What is Normal Weight Obesity?

Normal weight obesity (NWO), also known as "skinny fat," is a condition where individuals have a normal body mass index (BMI), but high body fat percentage. Typically, NWO is caused by a sedentary lifestyle and a diet high in processed foods. These individuals may appear to be slim, but they have an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Causes of Normal Weight Obesity

There are several causes of normal weight obesity, including:

Sedentary Lifestyle

Living a sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading causes of normal weight obesity. People who have desk jobs, drive long distances, and watch TV for extended periods are at high risk of developing NWO.

High Carbohydrate Diet

A diet that is high in carbohydrates and low in protein can lead to normal weight obesity. Consuming too many processed foods, sugary drinks, and fast foods can cause insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction.


Genetics can also play a role in normal weight obesity. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to store more fat in certain areas of the body, even if they have a normal BMI.

Symptoms of Normal Weight Obesity

Normal weight obesity can have subtle symptoms, which can be easily overlooked. Some common symptoms of NWO include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Low energy levels
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Diagnosis of Normal Weight Obesity

The diagnosis of normal weight obesity is usually made based on body composition analysis, which measures body fat percentage. In addition to measuring body fat, a healthcare provider may also check for other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

Prevention of Normal Weight Obesity

The good news is that normal weight obesity can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes. Here are some ways to prevent NWO:

Regular Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity can help to prevent normal weight obesity. Exercise helps to build muscle mass and reduce body fat percentage.

Healthy Diet

Eating a healthy and balanced diet that is low in processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats can help to prevent NWO. It's important to consume foods that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

Good Sleep

Getting adequate sleep is crucial for preventing normal-weight obesity. Lack of sleep can disrupt the hormones that regulate hunger and metabolism, leading to overeating and weight gain.


Normal weight obesity is a condition that is often overlooked, but it can have serious health consequences. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of NWO is important for preventing obesity-related health issues. By making simple lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep, you can reduce your risk of developing normal-weight obesity.


Can normal weight obesity be reversed?

Yes, normal-weight obesity can be reversed through lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and healthy eating.

What is a healthy body fat percentage?

A healthy body fat percentage varies depending on age and gender, but typically ranges from 10-25%.

How can I measure my body fat percentage?

Body fat percentage can be measured through various methods, including bioelectrical impedance analysis

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