Obesity: Know the facts
Obesity is emerging as a health epidemic around the world. The prevalence of obesity has increased more than 60% in the past decade. A quarter of the U.S. population is obese and another 97 million Americans are overweight or at risk of becoming obese.
The good news is, losing as little as 5 to 10% of your total body weight can reduce your risk of diabetes and other illnesses. It can also improve your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Obesity is an excess of total body fat, which results from caloric intake that exceeds energy usage. A measurement used to assess health risks* of obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated by dividing body weight (lbs.) by height in inches squared (in2) and multiplying that amount by 703. The metric calculation for BMI is kg/m2.
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*Health risk mentioned here includes type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The BMI classification and health risk information above are based on Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults published by National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, in 1998.
A person who generally weighs 100 pounds more than his or her ideal weight, or has a BMI of 40 or more, is diagnosed as morbidly obese. The National Institutes of Health report that morbid obesity may considerably reduce life expectancy and is associated with an increased risk of developing conditions or diseases such as:
- Joint problems
- Sleep apnea
- Coronary artery disease
- Respiratory problems
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