Doctors use a special measure called "body mass index," or BMI, to decide who is underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. A person with obesity weighs way too much for their height.
Your BMI will tell you whether your weight is appropriate for your height.
Obesity is a problem because it increases the risks of many different health problems. It can also make it hard for you to move, breathe, and do other things that people who are at a healthy weight can do easily. Plus, having obesity can be hard emotionally because it can make you feel ashamed or like you don't fit in.
Having obesity increases a person's risk of developing many health problems. Here are just a few examples:
Yes. Studies show that people with obesity die younger than people who are a healthy weight. They also show that the risk of death goes up the heavier a person is. The degree of increased risk depends on how long the person has been obese, and on what other medical problems they have.
People with "central obesity" might also be at risk of dying younger. Central obesity means carrying extra weight in the belly area, even if the BMI is normal.
Yes. If you are overweight or have obesity, you can talk to your doctor or nurse. They might have suggestions on ways to lose weight. It can also help to work with a dietician (food and nutrition expert). A dietician can help you choose healthy foods and plan meals.
Yes. There are medicines and surgery to help with weight loss. But those treatments are only for people who have not been able to lose weight through lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. Also, weight loss treatments do not take the place of diet and exercise. People who have those treatments must also change how they eat and how active they are.
The obvious answer is that you can lose weight. But even if weight loss is not possible, you can improve your health and reduce your risk if you:
The thing that increases a person's risk the most is having an unhealthy lifestyle. Most people develop obesity because they eat too much, eat unhealthy foods, and move too little. That's especially true of people who watch too much TV. But there are also other things that seem to increase the risk of obesity that many people do not know about. Here are some things that might affect a person's chance of developing obesity: