Compared to the Rest of the World

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Obesity can be defined as a condition that is associated with the accumulation of excess of body fat to the extent that it expresses the potential to have adverse health affects. If a person’s bodyweight is at least twenty percent higher than what is healthy, that person can be described as obese. Although there is currently no flawless method to measuring obesity, the most reliable and commonly used obesity indicator is the body mass index (BMI), a statistical measurement derived from an adult’s height and weight.

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Its method of calculation is depicted in the following formula:

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an adult with a Body Mass Index between 18.5 and 24.9 is generally healthy. An adult with a Body Mass Index of below 18.5 is considered underweight, an adult with a Body Mass Index of between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, and a person with a Body Mass Index of over 30 is considered obese. Obesity can be classified into three categories, governed by Body Mass Index: severe obesity (35-40), morbid obesity (40-45), and super obesity (45+).

Body Mass Index is a useful indicator for the average person’. This method does have one major inability, however. Despite it being considered a useful way to estimate obesity, it can be occasionally misleading, because it cannot measure the percentage of body fat (What is Obesity?). For instance, a muscular person may have a high Body Mass Index, but have much less fat than an unfit or ?out of shape’ person who’s Body Mass Index is lower. In addition, measuring obesity, with the Body Mass Index method, in children and adolescents aged 5 to 16 is challenging, because normal differences in body fat between boys and girls of different ages must be taken into account. Another less-common method used to measure a person’s obesity is waist circumference. For females, a waist circumference of 35 inches or greater is considered unhealthy. For men, a waist circumference of 40 inches or greater is considered unhealthy. (Obesity Action Coalition >> What is Obesity?). Other methods of estimating obesity include measurements of skinfold thickness, calculation of waist-to-hip circumference ratios, and techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Overweight and obese individuals are at an increased risk for many diseases and health condition, that often leads to a decreased quality of life for those affected, such as:
– Coronary Heart Disease
– Type 2 Diabetes: Among those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 67 percent have a BMI of 27 or greater and 46 percent have that of 30 or greater. West Virginia has the highest rate of diabetes at 14.1 percent. Nine of the 10 states with the highest diabetes rates are in the South.

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