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About Obesity

Obesity is defined as the condition of being very overweight and having a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher. The BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. You can find your BMI from a chart. Your waist size is also important. It is a measure of your abdominal fat. Your health risks increase as your BMI and waist size get larger. A waist measurement greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women indicates a significant increase in health risk.

What are the risks of obesity?

Obesity increases as people age. It is a serious condition because it increases your risk of poor health and major illness, such as:

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Why do people get obese?

In the majority of cases, people are obese because they eat or drink too much, are inactive, or a combination of both. In a small number of cases, a medical condition or certain medications may increase the chance of becoming obese. Some people may have a genetic risk of becoming obese, but getting obese still requires the patient to take in more calories from eating and drinking than they burn off from exercise and daily activity.

Calories, common foods and exercise

Calories is a way of measuring how much energy is stored in foods. The more calories, the more energy. The more energy eaten, the more likely a person will become fat. Some foods have more energy in them by weight than do other foods. For example, a pound of fat has twice as many calories in it than does a pound of sugar. Although both will make you fat, you only need to eat a half pound of fat to get the same amount of calories as in a pound of sugar. This does not mean you can eat all the sugar you want and you will not get fat. All calories matter, no matter where they come from.

Eating and drinking puts calories, or energy, into your body. Exercise and daily activity burns calories off. Gaining or losing weight is all about a simple equation. If you take in more calories from eating than you burn off through activity, you gain weight. If you burn off more calories through exercise than you take in from eating, you lose weight. But remember, the body is very efficient using the energy in the food we eat. Unless a person is very involved in strenuous exercise, it is difficult to lose weight purely through exercise. The best method of losing weight is to eat less and exercise more. What most of us need is a "willpower" pill. We often know when to not eat, but we choose to eat more anyway. So far, researchers have not found the magical "willpower" pill. We all want an easy way out of this willpower problem. We want to eat what we want and not get fat. There are many diets and pills on the market that claim to help people lose weight. The reason there are so many diet losing choices on the market is because none of the methods work very well, if at all. Again, to lose weight, a person needs to eat less and exercise more. There is no magic here.

Simple calorie facts