What is overweight/obesity?


Overweight/obesity is a condition whereby people may take in more calories than they burn. Obesity also appears to be influenced by genetics. Overweight and obesity together make up a leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. Obesity is a chronic disease that can seriously affect your health.  


Overweight means that you have extra body weight, and obesity means having a high amount of extra body fat. Being overweight or obese raises your risk for health problems, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer.




Rather than be determined solely on weight, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifications for normal, overweight or obese are factored based upon Body Mass Index (BMI).  Although the BMI is not a perfect measure, it gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your body is composed of fat. For adults, BMI is a calculated number which is compared to classification ranges (see below), and for children/teens that calculated value is plotted on a growth chart (>85th percentile is overweight).



 BMI Classifications


  • Underweight – BMI under 19
  • Normal weight – BMI 19-24.9
  • Overweight – BMI 25-29.9
  • Obese – BMI 30-39.9
  • Morbid Obesity – BMI 40+


People who are overweight or obese can also have problems socially or psychologically. This is because the culture in the U.S. often values a body image that's overly thin. Overweight and obese people are often blamed for their condition. Other people may think of them as lazy or weak-willed. It is not uncommon for people who are overweight or obese to earn less than other people or to have fewer or no romantic relationships. Some people's disapproval of those who are overweight may progress to bias, discrimination, and even torment. Depression is more common in overweight and obese individuals. 



What type of diet helps manage Overweight/Obesity?


Successful weight loss that is maintained over a long period of time depends more on limiting energy consumed (calories) and increasing energy expenditure (exercise and daily activity) than the composition of the diet.





To lose weight and keep it off for a lifetime, begin thinking about an individualized eating plan instead of a "diet." A plan tailored to your personal likes and dislikes will have a better chance of producing sustainable weight loss. A balanced diet that is restricted in calories--1,200 to 1,400 calories a day for women and 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day for men--may work well. A consultation with a registered dietitian referred through your physician or health insurance can help to make an individualized eating plan.





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