2016-12-22 20:19:50 UTC

Obesity 101: What is Obesity?

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  • Obesity is a health issue in which someone has so much extra fat that it negatively impacts his or her health.
  • Obesity is most often measured by body mass index (BMI), which looks at body weight compared with height.
    • Someone is of healthy weight if his or her BMI is 18.5–24.9. 
      • It is healthy to have some body fat. In fact, a healthy level of body fat is needed to survive. 
      • Fat cells give energy and help get rid of waste in the body. They also release substances of their own. 
    • Someone is overweight (meaning some extra body fat over healthy levels) if his or her BMI is 25.0–29.9.
    • Someone is obese if his or her BMI is 30 or higher.
  • Over 60 percent of American adults weigh more than is healthy. For those who are obese, health-care costs are almost $1,500 more per person per year than someone of healthy weight.
  • Being obese can have many harmful health effects. 
    • Being obese harms the body because of the way fat cells act.
    • Substances made by too many fat cells cause low-level inflammation, or swelling, that doesn’t go away. This can harm blood vessels, muscles (including the heart) and organs, such as the liver and pancreas. It also raises the risk for many types of cancer.
    • By having extra fat mass, someone who is obese has more strain on his or her joints and tissues, causing more pain.

©AGA, February 2017

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