Obesity is a medical condition in which a high amount of body fat makes it hard for a person’s internal organs to work well. This can cause poor health.
People with obesity are at risk for developing these health problems:
These three things can be used to determine if a person’s body fat puts them at risk for developing obesity-related diseases:
Body mass index (BMI) is calculated using height and weight. It is used to estimate body fat.
In general, starting at 25.0, the higher your BMI, the greater is your risk for developing obesity-related health problems. These ranges of BMI are used to describe levels of risk:
Women with a waist size greater than 35 inches and men with a waist size greater than 40 inches have an increased risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. People with "apple-shaped" bodies (meaning their waist is bigger than their hips) also have an increased risk for these conditions.
A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease.
Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get the disease, but it increases the chance you will. Some risk factors, like a person's age, race, or family history cannot be changed.
In general, the more risk factors you have, the more likely you will develop the disease or health problem.
Your risk of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems increases if you are obese and have these risk factors:
You can control most of these risk factors by changing your lifestyle. If you have obesity, your health care provider can help you begin a weight-loss program with a starting goal of losing 5 - 10% of your current weight. This will reduce your risk of developing obesity-related diseases.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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