Obesity In Focus

GENERIC Overweight man, health obesity
Obesity is a state of having so much body fat that it endangers one's health. An extreme amount of excess body fat can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes as well as tangential problems such as arthritis, sleep apnea and stroke.

Researchers reported Monday that the fastest-growing group of overweight people in the United States are those who are 100 or more pounds overweight.

Nearly two out of three Americans are overweight or obese, and 30 percent of Americans are obese, which is defined as having a Body Mass Index of 30 or more.

Defining "Morbid Obesity"

Morbid obesity is also referred to as "clinically severe obesity" or "extreme obesity." It is a chronic disease that afflicts approximately 9 million adult Americans — more than twice the number of people with Alzheimer's disease, according to the American Obesity Association.

Morbid obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index of 40 or more. This equates to approximately 100 pounds more than ideal weight.

What Is Your Risk?

Body Mass Index, or BMI, can be used to detect whether your weight is dangerous to your health. The BMI is a calculation that uses height and weight.

Calculate your BMI
According to WebMD, people who have a high BMI and carry their fat around the middle, rather than the hips, are more likely to have health problems. In women, a waist size of 35 inches or more is also a trouble indicator and should be a warning sign for disease. In men, a waist size of 40 inches or more raises the chance for disease.

Dealing With Obesity
Due to the health risks associated with extreme obesity, it is important to lose weight. Eating and exercise habits can be hard to change, but consult your doctor, make a plan — and a plan for how to stick to it.

One strategy WebMD suggests is to focus on health rather than diets. Focus on lifestyle changes that will improve your health and achieve the right balance of energy and calories. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in. You can do it by eating healthy foods in reasonable amounts and becoming more active — every day.

To Learn More About Obesity and Severe Obesity:

• Read WebMD's topic overview of obesity here.

• Visit the American Obesity Association online.

• Click here to read what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have to say about obesity.

• Find out more about BMI and learn the difference between child and adult BMIs here.

• Click here to calculate your Body Mass Index.

• Read an Obesity Report Card from WebMD.