Overweight is a defined medical condition according to body mass index, commonly known as BMI. It may be used as either a noun or an adjective in person-first language. For example, both people with overweight and people who are overweight are acceptable; overweight people is not acceptable.

Person with obesity vs. obese

Use person with obesity, person affected by obesity, or person who has obesity instead of obese person or they are obese. Obesity should always be referred to as a disease, not as a condition.

Weight, excess weight vs. weight problem, fat, morbidly obese

Use weight or excess weight rather than weight problem, fat, morbidly obese, or similarly pejorative descriptors. Note that excess weight and similar general terms should not be used as synonyms for overweight and obesity.

This page last reviewed on September 2, 2022