Image Caption : Overweight Woman with Visible Internal Organ : Obesity and its health risks are a growing problem in the United States. It is estimated that more than two-thirds of adults are either overweight (10 to 30 pounds heavier than recommended) or obese (more than 30 pounds heavier than recommended). The number of overweight and obese school-age children is also on the rise. This is especially alarming given what is known about how obesity increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. The Framingham Study found that regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are positive factors for cardiovascular health. Your heart is a muscle like any other in your body. Regular exercise strengthens muscles and improves the efficiency of circulation and nutrient and waste exchange. Little or no exercise means less muscle tone and can cause weight gain, which adds stress to the cardiovascular system and increases blood pressure. Weight gain - specifically the extra fat cells - also raise blood sugar and cholesterol levels. People who are overweight or obese are at a much higher risk of developing diabetes, which increases their risk of chronic kidney and heart disease. People who are obese also take a longer time to recover from surgical treatments and are more likely to develop complications from surgery.

Body Weight

Do you know if your current weight is healthy? "Underweight", "normal", "overweight", and "obese" are all labels for ranges of weight. Obese and overweight mean that your weight is greater than it should be for your health. Underweight means that it is lower than it should be for your health. Your healthy body weight depends on your sex and height. For children, it also depends on your age.

A sudden, unexpected change in weight can be a sign of a medical problem. Causes for sudden weight loss can include

  • Thyroid problems
  • Cancer
  • Infectious diseases
  • Digestive diseases
  • Certain medicines

Sudden weight gain can be due to medicines, thyroid problems, heart failure, and kidney disease.

Good nutrition and exercise can help in losing weight. Eating extra calories within a well-balanced diet and treating any underlying medical problems can help to add weight.

Overweight is having more body fat than is optimally healthy. Being overweight is common especially where food supplies are plentiful and lifestyles are sedentary.

Excess weight has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults being either overweight or obese in 2003. In 2013 this increased to more than 2 billion. Increases have been observed across all age groups.

A healthy body requires a minimum amount of fat for proper functioning of the hormonal, reproductive, and immune systems, as thermal insulation, as shock absorption for sensitive areas, and as energy for future use. But the accumulation of too much storage fat can impair movement, flexibility, and alter appearance of the body.

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.