Definition of Obesity

Obesity has in the past been defined by many different parameters. Today, the most widely accepted definition of overweight/obesity is a calculation derived from an individuals weight and height. Utilization of this method standardizes the measurement so that comparison is known as Body Mass Index (BMI). Being overweight is defined as a BMI between 25 and 30. A BMI of 30 or greater is defined as obesity. Another useful measurement is waist circumference. This measurement is obtained by measuring just at the top of the Illac Crest, which places the tape measure across the umbilical areas. A waist measurement in women of 35 inches or greater, or in males of 40 inches or greater is considered a significant risk factor for medical problems. Some literature indicated that an increased waist circumference is a risk factor independent of all other measurements. It is a well publicized fact that being overweight leads to serious health problems, just turn on the TV., read a magazine, or a newspaper. We all know that overweight/obesity can lead to such serious health problems as Diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, cancer, and cardiovascular disease just to name a few. Other conditions include kidney disease, arthritis, gout, varicose veins, gall bladder disease, liver disease, heart attack, stroke, gynecological problems, and sleep apnea. New literature reveals that obesity is a greater health risk than cigarette smoking. How serious are these problems if compared to someone of normal weight? You have 2 times the risk of developing high blood pressure. You have an increased risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast, uterus, and gall bladder. You have a 3.8 times greater chance of developing Diabetes. Elevated lipids are more prevalent by 2.1 times. Your are likely to develop arthritis at an earlier age that is more debilitating because of extra stress on the joints. You are more likely to have heavy, painful menstrual periods and infertility problems. You are more likely to develop sleep apnea and varicose veins. Just a modest weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds can significantly reduce health risks, improve quality of life, and even lengthen one’s life.
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