People who are overweight often struggle with their appearance and with wearing tight-fitting clothes. However, the greater danger with being overweight is an increased risk of a wide spectrum of serious diseases ranging from diabetes to hypertension, sleep apnea, pregnancy problems, gallstones and coronary heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A commonly used standard for measuring body weight is the body mass index, or BMI, based on a formula using height, weight and waist circumference, according to WebMD. With this formula, which is accessible on the WebMD website, a person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while a rating higher than 30 is considered obese.
Waist size is also a key factor, according to the Weight-control Information Network, since carrying too much weight around the middle, more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, is an indicator of being at high risk for obesity-related diseases. The Weight-control Information Network suggests that losing as little as 5 percent of a person's body weight may lower his risk for several diseases, including heart disease and type II diabetes. WebMD notes that not everyone who is overweight is at risk, but the possibility rises with a family history of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and other complications.