With more than 60% of the U.S. adult population overweight and 25% of those considered obese, it is important to understand the obesity epidemic and the serious effects it has on health.
To understand obesity, it is important to understand body composition. Body composition is the body’s relative amount of fat to fat-free mass. The body’s fat-free mass is compromised of all the body’s non-fat tissues; this includes bone, water, muscles, and tissues. Body fat is fat located within the body. Fat protects internal organs, provides energy, and regulates homes that perform various functions within the body. Someone who is overweight or obese has an excessive accumulation of body fat. Those that have optimal body compositions are generally healthier, move easily and efficiently, and feel better with less-than-ideal body composition.
Body fat percentage is the total body weight that is compromised of fat. A high body fat percentage can have negative effects on the health; it has been linked to a number of health problems such as increased risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. An individual with excess fat, specifically surrounding the internal organs, can contribute to serious medical conditions such as liver disease. Anyone who is concerned with the amount of body fat that may be on their body can measure body fat by assessing their body mass index (BMI).
Biology, behavior, and the environment are all factors that contribute to obesity. The obesity epidemic is being driven by environmental factors such as high energy/high fat foods, fast food consumption, and the advertising of “super-sized” portions. With today’s stressful lifestyles it is harder to maintain a healthier diet and exercise program for most people. Combating the obesity epidemic involves environmental and social policy changes in portion size, availability of healthful foods, and the promotion of physical activity....