Glossary On What is Obesity?

Obesity means your body has accumulated excessive amount fat and this is posing a risk to your health. When you consume more calories than you burn off, the body stores these excess calories as fat and you start gaining weight.

Obese people are at a higher risk of developing heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, joint pains, etc. Obesity has attained epidemic proportions today due to faulty food habits combined with lack of physical activity.

Global statistics clearly show that the disease is on rise not only in developed nations but also in developing countries. Nearly one third of all Americans today are obese. According to the WHO, in 2005, obesity globally affected at least 400 million adults. The projection was that by the year 2015 more than 700 million will be obese. Billions of dollars are spent every year to tackle with obesity and this includes costs of diet foods, diet books, diet pills, treatment of diseases associated with diabetes, etc.

In order to detect obesity, a simple measurement called BMI (Body Mass Index) is used. BMI is calculated using your weight and height. The weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters (kg/m2) gives the value of your BMI. You can check which range your BMI falls into:

Below 18.5: Underweight
18.5 - 24.9: Normal
25.0 - 29.9: Overweight
30.0 and higher: Obese 

People who have a BMI of more than 40 are termed to be suffering with 'Morbid Obesity' which can pose a serious risk to health and must be effectively tackled without any delay.

In addition to the extra weight that you carry, it is also important to determine where you carry this extra fat. Having more fat around the middle portion of the body (called Apple-shaped obesity) is more threatening to health than having more fat around the hips (called Pear-shaped obesity).

It is very vital for the patient to realize that he must lose the extra weight even if he does not feel any problem with it. This is because obesity leads to many complications in the long run which the patient may not realize initially.