What is obesity?

Obesity is defined by medical professionals as an excess of body fat that increases the risk of other health issues. A person with obesity has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

BMI is calculated based on your weight and height. It is used as an indicator for obesity and overall health risks. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. For reference, a 5'9" adult weighing over 203 pounds would be considered obese.

Obesity happens as a result of consuming more calories than you burn over time. Factors like diet, physical activity, genetics, metabolism, environment, behavior, and culture influence obesity risk. Persons with obesity are more likely to develop conditions like:

Losing weight can be challenging, but even moderate weight loss provides significant health benefits. Diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, medication or surgery can help manage obesity. Small consistent changes add up over time. Professionals like dieticians, fitness trainers, and doctors can provide guidance.

As obesity rates rise globally, more research is being done to understand and address root causes. Community-based programs, policy changes by governments and schools, and support from employers can all create environments that encourage healthier lifestyles. Obesity is complex, but a number of promising solutions exist.

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