Obesity is an excess of body fat. It is difficult to directly measure body fat. Body mass index (BMI) is a popular method of defining a healthy weight. BMI should be used as a guide, along with waist size, to help estimate the amount of body fat.
BMI estimates a healthy weight based on your height. It considers both the height and weight as well, for more accurate guide than the body weight alone.
To calculate your BMI:
- Multiply your weight in pounds by 703
- Divide that answer by your height in inches
- Divide that answer by your height in inches again
Then use the chart below to see what category your BMI falls into.
|18.5 – 24.9||Healthy|
|25.0 – 29.9||Overweight|
|30.0 – 39.9||Obese|
|Over 40||Morbidly obese|
Obesity can shorten your life.
It can also put you at risk of developing a number of conditions. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Some forms of cancer
Some of the most common reasons for obesity are:
- Genetic influences:
- Physiological influences:
- Food intake and eating disorders
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are at a higher risk of becoming obese.
Your weight history: If you were overweight as a child or adolescent, you are more likely to be obese as an adult.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy can contribute to obesity. Many women weigh more after each pregnancy.
Drugs: Some drugs can cause obesity. These include steroid hormones and many drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions.
The primary warning sign of obesity is an above-average body weight.
If you are obese, need to experience the following:
- Trouble sleeping
- Sleep apnea. This is a condition in which breathing is irregular and periodically stops during sleep.
- Shortness of breath
- Varicose veins
- Skin problems caused by moisture that accumulates in the folds of your skin
- Osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints, especially the knees
Obesity increases your risk for:
- High blood pressure,
- High levels of blood sugar (diabetes)
- High cholesterol
- High triglycerides levels
Obesity is diagnosed by calculating your BMI. BMI is calculated mainly by height and weight. A BMI of 30 or more defines obesity. In general, this means your body weight is 35% to 40% more than your ideal body weight.
Your body fat also can be calculated by using skin calipers. Calipers are an instrument that measures the thickness of your skin.
Body shape is also important. People who carry most of their weight around the waist (apple shaped) have a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes than do people with big hips and thighs (pear shaped). Waist circumference is a good measure of abdominal obesity. Women with a waist more than 35 inches or men with a waist more than 40 inches are at increased risk.
To prevent the obesity, need to maintain a healthy body weight, as well as eat well-balanced diet and do follow exercise regularly.
Preventing obesity is important. Once fat cells form, they remain in your body forever. Although you can reduce the size of fat cells, you cannot get rid of them.
Weight reduction is achieved by:
- Consuming fewer calories
- Increasing activity and exercise