Are you obese or just overweight?
Obesity is a disease that affects approximately 60 million people in the United States, and women are especially affected. Over one-third of women between the ages of 20 and 74 are obese, the majority of them being African American or Mexican American. With more and more pre-packaged food and less and less activity, the number of obese people in America has steadily increased since the 1960's.
But what is obesity? Many people think obesity means that a person is overweight, but that's not exactly true. An overweight person has a surplus amount of weight that includes muscle, bone, fat, and water. An obese person has a surplus of body fat. Most health professionals concur that a man is obese if he has over 25 percent body fat, and a woman is obese if she has over 30 percent. Women physiologically have more body fat than men, so that why there's a difference in percentage.
It is difficult to determine the exact percentage of body fat a person has, but estimates can be made in a number of ways. First, using a tweezer-like tool called a caliper, you can measure the thickness of skin folds on different points of your body and compare the results with standardized numbers. You can also use a small device that sends a harmless electrical current through your body and measures your body fat percentage. The most commonly used method to determine if a person is obese is to look at his/her Body Mass Index (BMI). A person with a BMI over 30 is considered to be obese, and a BMI over 40 is considered to be severely obese. It's important to remember though that BMI could be misleading in pregnant or lactating women and in muscular individuals.
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Dr Jeff St Paul
Weight Loss in 5 minutes a day - it's Magic!
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