People who are obese have too much body fat and are very overweight. Medically, people are considered obese if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. BMI is calculated from a person’s height and weight, and a BMI 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and anything beyond the 30 threshold is classified as obesity.
Obesity, which has been linked to numerous health problems, affects an increasing number of U.S. residents.
Complications of Obesity
Several common health problems are directly connected to the growing obesity problem. Topping that list are heart disease and diabetes. However, the problems of obesity go beyond these issues. For example, being obese increases the risk for high blood pressure, certain cancers, liver and gallbladder disease and stroke. People who are obese may have breathing problems, sleep apnea or develop arthritis. Women who are obese may have difficulty conceiving a child or may become infertile.
Preventing and Treating Obesity
Not surprisingly, the secret to preventing or treating obesity is to sustain a healthy weight. That means maintaining weight if BMI is in the normal range, or losing weight if it swings to “overweight” or “obese.”
From a purely scientific standpoint, losing weight requires burning more calories than you consume. This can be accomplished by either taking in fewer calories each day or increasing activity levels to burn more calories. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, and individuals who want to get serious about ending obesity need to have a plan, set realistic goals and realize that maintaining a healthy weight is a long-term, even lifetime, commitment to health. There are numerous ways to modify diet and activity levels to reach these goals, and often conversations with health care providers such as nutritionists and personal trainers can be helpful in developing a realistic, workable plan.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention