Essay about Obesity
Obesity results from chronic energy intake that exceeds energy expenditure and is characterized by "excessive" body fat. The precise assessment of an individual's body fat is an expensive and complicated procedure. Instead, body mass index (BMI), though somewhat controversial, is used commonly because it is easy to assess and correlates highly with body fat. BMI is calculated by taking an individual's weight in kilograms and dividing it by that individual's height in meters squared (kg/m2). For adults a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A BMI of 25 to 29 is classified as overweight, obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 to 39, and clinically severe obesity is defined as a BMI of 40 or more. Because of the pervasive social stigma associated with the term obesity, it is avoided for children; at risk for overweight and overweight are the recommended terms. To account for normal age and sex differences in children's body fat, at risk for overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and overweight as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile of the sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts. PREVALENCE OF OBESITY
Health statistics for the United States reveal a dramatic upsurge in obesity prevalence during the early 1980s, and the rates have continued to rise. U.S. national health statistics in 2007 estimated that 34.1 percent of adults were overweight, 32.2 percent obese, and 4.8 percent clinically obese; 17.1 percent of children and adolescents age six to nineteen were estimated to be overweight, and 16.5 percent were at risk for overweight. Sociodemographic risk factors for obesity include being of a racial/ethnic minority and being of low socioeconomic status. CONSEQUENCES OF OBESITY
Obesity is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. The medical sequelae of obesity include type II diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and some cancers, including breast and colon cancer. Among the most...
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