Skip to main content

What is Obesity?

By Emily Lockhart

Obesity, or an obese individual,  is defined as someone with an excess amount of  body fat. However, scientists point to caloric intake exceeding the amount of energy a person burns as the main indicator of obesity.  Nearly 72 million adults in the United States are obese. Medical professionals use several  indexes to measure obesity or body fat percentages, including the body mass index (or BMI).

The BMI calculates body fat percentage based on a individual’s height and weight. According to the BMI, if your body weight exceeds 30-percent you are considered in the obese range. However, keep in mind that it does not differentiate the weight of fat from bone and muscle mass, which can be misleading.  That’s why in addition to the BMI, most medical professionals will also take a measurement of the patient’s waist circumference, and consider other risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity before making an “obese” prognosis.

With 72 million obese adults in the U.S. alone, obesity is obviously not just a cosmetic concern. Being obese puts individuals at risk for an array of health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers (such as colon, breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer), gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, asthma, sleep apnea, and stroke. Obesity individuals who are 40 percent overweight for a long period of time also double their chances of premature death compared to a person of average-weight.

Emily Lockhart

Contributor

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

Your Health

Explore

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?
By Katherine George Your Health

What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

EMDR is a fairly new and nontradiational type of psychotherapy. It has become increasingly popular for treating PTSD. To learn more about it, here’s a look into what it is, how it works, if it’s effective, and the potential risks and benefits…

Read More about What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?

7 min read

Lung Cancer Rates Have Decreased for the Marlboro Man, but Have Risen Steeply for Nonsmokers and Young Women – An Oncologist Explains Why
By Estelamari Rodriguez Your Health

Lung Cancer Rates Have Decreased for the Marlboro Man, but Have Risen Steeply for Nonsmokers and Young Women – An Oncologist Explains Why

When many people think of an average lung cancer patient, they often imagine an older man smoking. But the face of lung cancer has changed. Over the past 15 years, more women, never smokers and younger people are being diagnosed with lung cancer. In fact, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among […]

Read More about Lung Cancer Rates Have Decreased for the Marlboro Man, but Have Risen Steeply for Nonsmokers and Young Women – An Oncologist Explains Why

4 min read

Ultra-Processed Foods – Like Cookies, Chips, Frozen Meals and Fast Food – May Contribute to Cognitive Decline
By Sara N. Burke Your Health

Ultra-Processed Foods – Like Cookies, Chips, Frozen Meals and Fast Food – May Contribute to Cognitive Decline

Scientists have known for years that unhealthy diets – particularly those that are high in fat and sugar – may cause detrimental changes to the brain and lead to cognitive impairment. Many factors that contribute to cognitive decline are out of a person’s control, such as genetics and socioeconomic factors. But ongoing research increasingly indicates […]

Read More about Ultra-Processed Foods – Like Cookies, Chips, Frozen Meals and Fast Food – May Contribute to Cognitive Decline

5 min read