What is obesity?

Today, obesity is a major problem. What is obesity, which we all used to say, how is obesity?

Obesity is considered based on the weight of a person compared to the height and has become a very important parameter of determining the level of fitness in people.

An internationally accepted index used by experts to determine who is and who is not obese is called the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI accepted as normal, ranges between 18 and 28, and any one above the upper limit is classified as an obese person. The more obese a person is, the more likely he or she is to develop health problems.

Further grading considers the severity of obesity by classifying obesity into mild, morbid and malignant obesity. Mild obesity involving a body mass index (BMI 30+) causes less morbidity than morbid obesity (BMI 40+) or malignant obesity (BMI 50+). Malignant obesity is the most dangerous and these people are very prone to heart attacks. For example, someone who is 40 percent overweight is has a two-fold chance of dying a premature death than the other person whose BMI is within normal range. So it is an issue of life and death we are talking about.

So to simply put it, obesity is excessive body fat.

How do we calculate our BMI?

Everyone needs to be able to calculate his/her BMI in order to know when to seek medical advice. It can be calculated using weight in kg and height in meters or weight in pounds and height in inches.

The easiest way to find out your BMI is to use a BMI table for adults. There is also a handy BMI calculator at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s website. As stated before, to find your BMI, you need to know your height and your weight.

The formula is: BMI = Weight (kg)/ {Height}2 (m)

You can also take your weight in pounds, divide that number by your height in inches squared, and multiply the result by 703 to get your BMI.

That is BMI= [Weight (Ibs)/{Height}(inches)] *730

If your BMI is 25-29.9, you are in the “overweight” category and not yet obese but being at the upper limit of normal is a sign you are slowly becoming obese. There are three classes of obesity:

•Class I obesity — BMI of 30-34.9

•Class II obesity— of 35-39.9

•Class III obesity— of 40 and higher

Other classifications are Mild, Morbid and Malignant. Whatever classification you use, a BMI of 30 and above is unhealthy and that increases your weight related health risk.

Obesity therefore predisposes you to Heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, cancer of the gallbladder; breast, uterus, cervix, and ovaries (for women) and cancer of the colon; rectum, and prostate (for men). Gallstones, osteoarthritis, gout, apnea, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, pregnancy related problems, irregular menstrual cycles and infertility, psychological and social effects etc. To avoid these arrays of health risks, we must learn to eat just the amount of food the body needs. Eating too much and a sedentary lifestyle is a major culprit causing obesity.
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