Obesity is a term used to describe body weight which is much greater than what is considered healthy. An obese person has a much higher amount of body fat than is healthy or desirable.
Adults with a body mass index (BMI), calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) greater than 25 kg/m2 but less than 30 kg/m2 are considered overweight.
Adults with a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 are considered obese. Anyone who has a BMI greater than 40 kg/m2 is considered morbidly obese.
Causes & Risk Factors
Consuming more calories than you burn leads to being overweight and, eventually, obesity. The body stores unused calories as fat. Obesity can be the result of eating more food than your body can use or drinking too much alcohol and/or not getting enough exercise.
An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) may lead to weight gain. Some antidepressants and antipsychotic medicines may also contribute to weight gain and obesity. Genetic factors play some part in the development of obesity : children of obese parents are 10 times more likely to be obese than children with parents of normal weight.
People who are at higher risk for obesity include:
- Lower income groups
- Former smokers
- People with chronic mental illness
- People with disabilities
- People with a sedentary lifestyle