Are You Overweight? Or Worse Yet, Are You Obese?

Most of us here in America have no idea of the extent to which obesity afflicts us. The estimates put the number of folks fitting the classical definition of obesity in the U.S. at over 75 million.

In 2008, only Colorado had an incidence of obesity less than 20% of its population. Thirty-two states had an incidence of obesity greater than 25%, and six states had an incidence greater than 30% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). According to the CDC, between 1985 and 2008, the incidence of obesity has skyrocketed.

Obesity is particularly unkind to appivapp women with over one-third of women between 30 and 74 years of age meeting the classical definition of obese. And the evidence points to a couple of culprits – less physical activity and more pre-packaged processed foods.

Just what is the definition of obesity?

Most folks tend to confuse being overweight with being obese. While the two terms are related and a person goes through the stage of being overweight on the way to reaching obesity, there is more to the story. A person who is obese has gone beyond the stage of being overweight and is carrying around a dangerous excess of body fat.

Most in the health profession would agree that a man is defined as being obese when his body fat percentage reaches twenty five percent and a woman is defined as being obese when her percentage of body fat reaches thirty percent. Gaining an accurate determination of a person’s body fat percentage can be difficult, but can be reasonably estimated using a number of methods.

One method has the use of calipers being used to measure skin folds on various parts of your body. These measurements are then compared with a standard to come up with your percentage of body fat number. Another method has health professionals using a device that measures your percentage of body fay by passing a small amount of electricity through your body.

However, the most common method used today to determine a person’s level of overweight or obesity is a simple calculation called the Body Mass Index (BMI). Having a BMI between 25 and 29.9 will put you in the overweight category while a BMI 30 or greater means you are obese.

Calculating your BMI is easy. First all take the square of your height in inches. In other words, multiply your height in inches by your height in inches. So if you are 5 feet 8 inches, you are 68 inches tall. Now multiply 68 x 68 to get 4624. Divide that number into your weight in pounds.

So if your weight is 163, you would divide 163 by 4624 like this, 163/4624. You then take this number and multiply by 703 and you now have your BMI which in this case is 24.78. Here is the formula: [weight in pounds / (height in inches)^2] x 703.

If this is you, then congratulations – you are not considered to be obese. You are not even considered to be overweight. Now keep in mind that this calculation is only a guideline. It is a calculation for adults. Also, there are circumstances where the BMI would not appy such as women who are pregnant or lactating and men who are heavily muscled for instance. However, use this as a starting point.

By visiting the CDC website at “www dot cdc dot gov slash healthyweight”, you can find more about the BMI calculation. We may or may not be aware of the many health risks associated with obesity such as heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancers such as those of the colon, prostate, and breast. Obesity has also been linked to depression possibly caused by a person’s low self esteem brought on by a perception of self.

The good news is that obesity can be beat. But as always a plan of attack to conquer obesity should not be embarked upon without first consulting with your health care provider. A healthy life should always begin with regularly scheduled visits to your health professional.

Debbie Parkinson is a free lance writer researching and writing on various topics. Debbie’s passions are health and pets. Learn more about getting a good night’s sleep by using the Sleep Sound Machine


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