Prevalence of Obesity in the US in 2018.

Obesity is a treatable disease associated with having an excess amount of body fat. It is caused by genetic and environmental factors and can be difficult to control through dieting and exercise alone. In 1997, the World Health Organization (WHO) formally recognized obesity as a global epidemic. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 kg/m2, and in June 2013 the American Medical Association classified it as a disease. Obesity is a  worldwide health concern and major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Obesity is a very common, serious, and costly disease.

Health Consequences

People who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:

  • All-causes of death (mortality)
  • High blood pressure (Hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder, and liver)
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning.

The CDC further split obesity into the following classes:

  • Class 1: BMI of 30–34
  • Class 2: BMI 35–39
  • Class 3: BMI 40 or higher
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