Is Childhood Obesity Common? Just How Much?

Obesity is a chronic condition where a person’s body fat percentage is above normal. Men are considered obese of their body is more than thirty percent fat. Women are considered obese if their body is more than twenty-five percent fat.
Most often, a doctor uses BMI or Body Mass Index to determine if a person is obese. Body mass is calculated by comparing the height and weight of a person. It’s a simple calculation. You can do the math yourself. Multiply your weight by 703. Divide that number by your height in inches multiplied by itself.

If you weigh 200 pounds and are six feet tall then the equation is 200 x 703/72 x 72. Or 140600/5184 or 27.12. Obesity is defined as someone with a BMI over thirty. This means the person in this example is not considered obese.

While the math is easy to do, losing the weight isn’t always as easy. It takes a lot of hard work and support to get to a healthy weight. This challenge combined with many other causes has led to an epidemic. Among both children and adults, obesity has become extremely common.

How Common is Obesity?

You might be surprised to learn how common obesity is. In the United States one in three adults is obese. That’s more than thirty percent of the adult population. What’s perhaps more disheartening is the fact that obesity is skyrocketing amongst children. Approximately one in four or twenty-five percent of children are obese. These numbers have doubled in the past ten years. The Surgeon General reported that about 300,000 people in the United States die annually from conditions related to obesity.

According to the Center for Disease Control, obesity seems to affect minorities more often than whites. It’s also more common in the Southern United States and the Midwest than other areas of the country. However, obesity is not limited to the United States. It is growing at an alarming rate across the globe.

What Causes Obesity?

There are actually several causes for obesity. They include but are not limited to:

* Genetics
* Overeating
* Poor eating and dietary habits
* Not enough physical activity
* Medications
* Psychological factors like depression
* Diseases
* Environment – parents have poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle
* Hormones and metabolism

Studies have shown that no single element affects weight more than diet and activity. Burning more calories than you eat trumps genetics, medication and other factors. This is good news. It means that even if the cards are stacked against you, you can control your weight. If you’re overweight and want to avoid obesity and all the health complications you can take control of your health. Because obesity is so prevalent, there’s a lot of help available. Consult your physician. Change your habits to support a healthy lifestyle. Join a weight loss group or support group. Obesity is common but it doesn’t have to be your life.

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