Obesity in general increases the risk of developing serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
And, points out The Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay, doctors are on the lookout these days for a group of risk factors known together as metabolic syndrome.
They include excess weight, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low levels of HDL or so-called good cholesterol, glucose intolerance, and elevated insulin levels.
Since the prevalence of childhood obesity has doubled in the last two decades, doctors are looking for these warning signs in kids as well as adults.
Waist circumference, Senay explains, is a measurement of dangerous abdominal fat, one of the components of metabolic syndrome. Excess abdominal fat is thought to be a better indicator of heart disease risk than body mass index, or BMI, which is a commonly used measurement of obesity that is calculated using a height and weight formula.