There is so much information, and misinformation, today about the official definitions of overweight and obesity. It is important to know what these definitions are in order to fully understand the problems our culture is facing due to medical issues related to excess body weight. Here is a quick look at both categories and what they really mean.

Both words mean that a person weighs more than is considered healthy depending on the individual’s height. According to the CDC, both categories are determined by a measurement referred to as the body mass index or BMI. Your BMI is calculated with a mathematic formula that compares your height to weight but there are several online tools to help you determine your own BMI.

Experts from the Medical College of Wisconsin describe being overweight as having an overall higher body weight compared to established medical standards. This weight can be attributed to water, bone, muscle, or fat. However, obesity is described specifically in terms of an excess amount of body fat. Of course, some body fat is essential for the proper function of our body’s systems, but too much can lead to obesity related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Men who have a BMI over 25 and women over 30 are considered medically obese.

Obese individuals have a much higher risk for diseases and pain related conditions.

Obesity is also severely affecting our nation’s children. This is becoming a serious concern for healthcare professionals notes the CDC.

The primary cause of obesity is poor diet and low amounts of exercise. Foods that are high in fat or simple carbohydrates can pack on the pounds. Lack of activity means that the person is consuming more calories than they are burning and it is then stored in the body as fat.

If you are out of shape, think about small changes you can start with to improve your health. Add small amounts of exercise into your daily routine and begin to make smart and balanced choices for your meals.

Do you have concerns about your weight and how it is affecting your overall health? 

Image by Lauren Manning via Flickr


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