Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Diagnosis - Obesity

Speak to your GP if you:

  • need advice managing your weight
  • feel your weight is having a bad effect on your life or health

Getting a diagnosis of obesity

Your GP will assess your:

Your GP may ask about:

  • how your weight impacts your health
  • your work and home environment
  • your sleep, diet, and physical activity
  • if you feel stressed
  • smoking and drinking alcohol
  • your family history
  • weight-related health problems
  • medicines you are taking that may be causing weight gain

Body mass index (BMI)

Your BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres.

Work out your BMI using the safefood BMI healthy weight calculator.

People with a BMI of 30 or more have a high risk of obesity.

Waist circumference

Your GP will measure your waist to see where you carry your weight.

The amount of weight you carry around your tummy can affect your:

  • hormones
  • immune system
  • risk of heart disease and diabetes

If you have more fat in your belly area than elsewhere, this may increase your risk of obesity.

For men, you have a higher risk of health problems if your waist circumference is more than 102 centimetres (40 inches).

For women, you have a higher risk of health problems if your waist circumference is more than 88 centimetres (35 inches).

Waist size cut offs are lower for people of certain ethnicities because of a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Learn how to measure your waist circumference -

Health problems linked to weight

Your GP will check if you have any health conditions linked to your weight.

These conditions include:

They may also carry out health checks to find out if your weight puts you at risk of developing health problems. These checks could include blood tests and measuring your blood pressure.

This will help your GP to understand your risk of obesity. They will help you decide on the best treatment plan.

Look at what support is best for you

Your GP will work with you to decide together on the best treatment plan. Ask for support from friends, family and your healthcare team.

Your healthcare team can include your:

  • GP
  • specialist doctor
  • dietitian
  • nurse
  • physiotherapist
  • psychologist or counsellor
  • occupational therapist

Local courses and support groups are also available. Ask your GP about them.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 9 August 2022
Next review due: 9 August 2025