Obesity is an extremely common problem in the United States, and all over the world. It is estimated that more than one-third of adults (72 million people) and 17 percent of children in the United States are obese. The most common causes of obesity include a lack of physical activity and eating an unhealthy diet. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. These are some of the leading causes of preventable death.
Some key statistics about obesity:
· More than 1 in 3 Americans (35.7 percent) are obese
· More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults in the United States areoverweight or obese
· Almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese
· Obesity by race:
o 47.8 percent - Non-Hispanic blacks
o 42.5 percent - Hispanics
o 32.6 percent - Non-Hispanic whites
o 10.8 percent - Non-Hispanic Asians
A person is considered obese when they have a body mass index (also known as BMI) of 30 or higher. The body mass index is an estimation of how much body fat a person has. How do you calculate body mass index? The body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. Here is a chart to understand what your body mass index means:
· Below 18.5 - underweight
· 18.5-24.9 - normal
· 25.0-29.9 - overweight
· 30.0-34.9 - obese (Class I)
· 35.0-39.9 - obese (Class II)
· 40.0 and higher - extreme obesity (Class III)
Due to the growing prevalence of obesity in the United States, there is also a rapid increase in diabetes in the country. Almost 90 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. Being overweight puts added pressure on the body’s ability to properly control blood sugar using insulin. Insulin resistance (in type 2 diabetes) is caused by the accumulation or excess fat in the cells of the liver and in muscle tissue.
People who are obese are at a higher risk for developing some very serious health complications such as high triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, stroke, cancer, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, infertility and irregular periods, erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, osteoarthritis, depression, and physical disability.
The best way to reduce your risk for obesity, prevent obesity, or get your obesity under control is to exercise regularly, eating a healthy diet, knowing your triggers that make you want to eat more than you should, checking your weight on a regular basis, and learning how to live a healthy lifestyle that lasts for the rest of your life instead of just temporarily.