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What is Obesity? Am I Obese?

Obesity and its associated problems are discussed in every major newspaper. You can't turn on the news or the television without hearing about it. However, many people don't truly understand what obesity is. They may think they're obese when they're really not.

Likewise, they may believe they're just a bit overweight when they're clinically obese. The difference is significant.

The Basics of Obesity.

Let's start with a working definition of obesity. Doctors and medical professionals define obesity as a person who is 20% or more over their normal body weight.

Most physicians use BMI or body mass index to evaluate obesity. It's a slightly more accurate assessment than simply looking at normal weight. This is because normal weight can range for a person by ten or more pounds. Normal weight varies depending on muscle mass, bone mass and water retention.

BMI is calculated based on a person's weight and height. It's a basic ratio of your weight multiplied by 703 over your height multiplied by itself. So if you weigh 150 and you're five feet four inches your ratio would be 150x703/64x64 (inches). Or 105450/4096. Or 25.74.

The result is then evaluated based on the following scale:

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
  • Overweight = 25–29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

A person is considered to be morbidly obese if their BMI is greater than 40. A morbidly obese person weighs 50-100% more than their normal weight.

Causes of Obesity.

There are many causes for obesity. Many people gradually gain weight over time. By the time they reach their 30's, 40's, or 50's they've inched up into the obese category. A pound a month or ten pounds a year can really add on over time.

Inactivity and a poor diet are also paths to obesity. Some medications and health conditions also lend themselves to weight gain. Finally, genetics and environmental factors can contribute to weight gain and obesity.

Treatments for Obesity.

The treatments for obesity are varied. They depend on the person, the cause for the obesity and the seriousness of the person's health. Treatment ranges from lifestyle changes – diet and exercise to surgery. If a person is obese it is important to lose weight. Obesity brings with it a whole host of health risks. Many of these risks are life threatening.

To treat and manage obesity meet with your doctor to create a treatment plan. Obesity isn't a life sentence. you can lose weight and regain your health and vitality. The first step is understanding what obesity is. The second step is getting a diagnosis. Finally, create a treatment plan and begin the path to your healthier future.

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