What is the definition of obese?

Am I obese?



What is the definition of obese? Obesity is a condition where body fat increases to the point it commonly causes certain health conditions or increased mortality.

The definition of obese is being more than a little over weight, it is severely overweight. Although obesity is an individual clinical condition, it is increasingly viewed as a serious and growing public health problem in many countries.

Silhouettes representing healthy, overweight, and obese profiles illustrate the definition of obese. Another definition of obesity is to assess the percentage of body fat. Doctors and scientists generally agree that men with more than 25% body fat and women with more than 30% body fat are obese.

Obesity charts tables - The BODY MASS INDEX

This chart uses height and weight ratios to calculate a weight range for a "normal" healthy person of that height. The chart is based on more sedentary persons body ratios, and for most individuals it is a useful guide. Athletes with very low body fat and more muscle may be classified as overweight or even obese by the chart because their muscle mass increases their weight in proportion to their height. Obesity charts tables are useful as a handy reference but can be misleading.

Am I obese? Refer to the chart above to answer the question "Am I obese". The chart reads in both English and Metric units. For example, lets assume a person five feet eleven inches tall weighing 175 pounds. The chart shows a normal weight range from about 133 to 172 pounds. This individual would be classified as slightly overweight, but is not considered obese unless over 210 pounds. If the person is athletic with low fat and more than average musculature they should be considered normal.


What causes obesity? The combination of excess food and a sedentary lifestyle are the main causes for obesity in Western society in the last quarter of the 20th century. Overeating is a huge problem. Fast food consumption tripled between 1977 and 1995, and caloric intake quadrupled during the same years. Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle is the second of the major cause of obesity in America.

Is there genetic obesity? Genetic obesity has not been proven, but it does seem more common in some population groups. An imbalance between calories consumed and burned is a combination of environmental factors and genetic obesity factors that regulate appetite, metabolism and other caloric balancing variables. The thrifty gene hypothesis postulates that certain ethnic groups may be more prone to obesity than others, and the ability to take advantage of rare periods of abundance and use that abundance by storing energy efficiently may have been an evolutionary advantage in times when food was scarce.

Obesity health problems cause large numbers of medical conditions. Mortality is increased by obesity, with a BMI of over 32 being associated with a doubled risk of death. Common obesity health problems include high blood pressure, heart diseases, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, joint pain and premature joint failure, sleep apnea, diabetes, gout, low back pain, strokes, depression and low self esteem.


What are obesity solutions? The main treatment for obesity is to reduce body fat by eating fewer calories and exercising more. Diet therapy and exercise programs produce an average weight loss of approximately 8% of total body mass. A loss of as little as 5% of body mass can create large health benefits. See our related article more information about weight control.

Much more difficult than reducing body fat is keeping it off. Eighty to ninety-five percent of those who lose 10% or more of their body mass by dieting regain all that weight back within two to five years. Keeping weight off requires making exercise and eating right a permanent part of a person's lifestyle.

Anti-obesity drugs are sometimes prescribed for diet/exercise resistant obesity. These are prescribed under medical supervision. Weight loss with these drugs is generally modest.

Bariatric surgery (or "weight loss surgery") is the use of surgical interventions in the treatment of obesity. As every surgical intervention may lead to complications, it is regarded as a last resort when diets and drug treatments have proven to be unsuccessful. Two large studies have demonstrated a mortality benefit from bariatric surgery. A marked decrease in the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Weight loss was most marked in the first few months after surgery, but the benefit was sustained in the longer term.


Our Obesity Solutions page brings you articles on obesity, current medical research, the latest obesity solutions, and products. We check dozens of sources to find the most current articles on obesity.

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