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How obese is a BMI of 39?

How obese is a BMI of 39?

A BMI of 39 falls into the class 2 obesity category and is very close to being in the class 3 category, which used to be called morbid obesity.

Definitions and classifications aside, we can say with a high degree of certainty that individuals with a 39 BMI score are putting their health at serious risk.

After all, obesity is linked with a variety of chronic diseases and problems, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and back pain.

Therefore, anyone with a body mass index of 39 will need to formulate a weight loss plan with their doctor so that they can safely lose the weight they need to enjoy better health.


Is a 39 BMI obese for women?

A 39 BMI woman doing some exercise

A BMI of 39 is 9-10 BMI points higher than average for a woman and is definitely considered obese. Specifically, a 39 BMI is categorized as class 2 obesity.

While anyone who’s walking around with a body mass index of 39 is likely to be harming their health, the degree of harm depends more on the body fatness and body fat storage of an individual rather than their BMI score.

This is because BMI doesn’t measure body fat or muscularity. As such, BMI can miss people who have a “healthy” BMI but far too much body fat.

Of course, with a BMI as high as 39, excess body fat is virtually guaranteed. But at lower ranges, body mass index can be quite inaccurate.

Is a BMI of 39 obese for men?

An overweight BMI 39 man at the gym

The reason that a BMI of 39 is considered obese for a man is that it’s nine BMI points into the obese BMI category.

A man with a body mass index of 39 is also likely to be much heavier and fatter than the average male, who, at the time of writing, is borderline obese.

To be sure, a man (and a woman) can have plenty of muscle mass and strength while being BMI 39. But even with mountains of muscle mass, you’re not likely to be healthy at a 39 BMI.

After all, you can’t be lean while having a BMI of 39, meaning that anyone with a body mass index of 39 almost certainly has too much body fat on their frame.

What does a BMI 39 person look like?

the word obese in big letters with other health-related words

As mentioned, a BMI 39 person looks obese due to their excess body fat. The good news is that with the right help and a weight loss strategy that works for them, these people can slim down and greatly improve their health.

39.1 BMI

If you have a 39.1 BMI, then it’s likely that your body fat percentage is much higher than average. Therefore, you should try to lose weight by eating in a calorie deficit.

39.2 BMI

A 39.2 BMI is on the upper end of the class 2 obesity category, meaning that a person with a BMI of 39.2 is very close to being considered severely obese.

39.3 BMI

Those with a 39.3 BMI are almost certainly carrying too much body fat. This is bad because being obese often means having visceral fat, which can wrap around your internal organs and lead to chronic disease.

39.4 BMI

If you have a BMI of 39.4, then your body mass index is over 9 points higher than average for both men and women.

39.5 BMI

A 39.5 BMI is very high and is a strong sign that an individual needs to lose a significant amount of weight. If you have a BMI of 39.5, be sure to talk with your doctor before trying to shed your excess weight.

39.6 BMI

A BMI of 39.6 is very high and virtually guarantees that, on some level, a person is putting their health at serious risk.

39.7 BMI

If you’ve got a 39.7 BMI, then you’ll need to lose your excess body fat in order to regain your health, something that you can do by eating in a calorie deficit and increasing your activity level in order to expend more energy.

39.8 BMI

Those who have a 39.8 BMI are very close to the class 3 obesity category and should lose weight before their obesity becomes extremely severe, which could hinder their ability to move.

39.9 BMI

A BMI of 39.9 is the final body mass index score in the class 2 obesity category, after which an individual is considered to be severely obese.

Conclusion: What is the meaning of a 39 body mass index?

A BMI of 39, as mentioned, is in the class 2 obesity category, meaning that an individual with a 39 BMI is in danger of becoming severely obese if they gain any more weight.

Of course, you can have plenty of muscle and a big frame while having a body mass index of 39. After all, BMI doesn’t directly distinguish between muscle and fat.

The trouble is that nobody has a lean 39 BMI because you simply can’t be that muscular naturally, and, even if you could, it likely wouldn’t be healthy.


  1. Roche, A. F., Sievogel, R. M., Chumlea, W. C., & Webb, P. (1981). Grading body fatness from limited anthropometric data. The American journal of clinical nutrition34(12), 2831–2838.
  2. Flegal, K. M., Shepherd, J. A., Looker, A. C., Graubard, B. I., Borrud, L. G., Ogden, C. L., Harris, T. B., Everhart, J. E., & Schenker, N. (2009). Comparisons of percentage body fat, body mass index, waist circumference, and waist-stature ratio in adults. The American journal of clinical nutrition89(2), 500–508.