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Obesity: Know the Facts

Quite simply, obesity is the term for having a body weight (and body fat) greater than what is healthy. An individual becomes obese when he or she has developed a lifestyle of eating more calories than what is burned through exercise and other activities. Although individuals can learn to curb weight gain and control their diet and exercise habits, the fact that obesity is so widespread suggests that there are external and environmental factors that also contribute to the condition. Obesity is an epidemic in America today. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 64% of the U.S. population is overweight or obese. You can learn more about obesity, its causes and its potential solutions through our A.D.A.M. Multimedia Encyclopedia.

Morbid obesity is severe obesity that leads to serious medical conditions as a direct result of the obesity. Morbid obesity is usually defined as being more than 100 pounds overweight or having a body mass index (BMI) of/greater than 40. For example, a 5'4" person weighing 150 pounds has a BMI of 25.7. A person of the same height who weighs 250 pounds has a BMI of 43.

Calculate your BMI

Obesity is not simply a matter of needing to drop a few pounds for the sake of your appearance. Several serious illnesses are associated with obesity, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Infertility
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Cirrhosis
  • Depression
  • Asthma
  • Pickwickian Syndrome
  • Heart disease or Sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
  • Certain cancers, including breast, liver, colorectal, prostate, endometrial, uterine, and gallbladder
  • Thrombophlebitis
  • Severe headaches