In February 1985, in Bethesda, MD, the National Institutes of Health held a Consensus Development Conference on the Health Implications of Obesity. Nineteen experts in pertinent subject areas presented the current state of the art to a panel of 15 senior-level professionals. On the basis of the scientific evidence presented and its discussion by the audience, the panel formulated a "consensus statement" of findings and recommendations in the form of a narrative reply to six key questions focused on the health implications of obesity. This article summarizes the results of the consensus conference and discusses the conclusions and recommendations of the panel and their implications for the dietetic profession. Also provided, as a practical tool for the dietitian, are two nomograms indicating body mass index and desirable weight and 20% and 40% overweight levels for men and women of different heights and weights.