The state of being well above one's normal weight.
A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex and build.
Obesity has been more precisely defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above. (A BMI of 30 is about 30 pounds overweight.)
The BMI, a key index for relating body weight to height, is a person's weight in kilograms (kg) divided by their height in meters (m) squared. Since the BMI describes the body weight relative to height, it correlates strongly (in adults) with the total body fat content. Some very muscular people may have a high BMI without undue health risks.
Obesity is often multifactorial, based on both genetic and behavioral factors. Accordingly, treatment of obesity usually requires more than just dietary changes. Exercise, counseling and support, and sometimes medication can supplement diet to help patients conquer weight problems. Extreme diets, on the other hand, can actually contribute to increased obesity.
Being overweight is a significant contributor to health problems. It increases the risk of developing a number of diseases including:
Standard of Care:
Physicians generally treat obesity with anything from a prescribed exercise and recommended meal plan, to medications such as Bontril SR (Phendimetrazine), Xenical (orlistat), to more invasive treatments such as Gastirc Bypass or Lap Bands. Your physician can recommend treatment options based on your individual needs and test results.
Alternatives to medication, diets and surgeries include:
If you’re looking to take a more nutritional approach to your weight, ACAM suggests consulting with a nutrition provider in your area. You can also take practical steps to empower yourself to change your eating habits, impulse selections and exercise programs.
The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.