Obesity occurs when an individual has an increased amount of body fat. It is usually defined as being 20-30% above the normal body weight for someone of the same age, gender, and height.
Morbid obesity is usually defined as being 50-100% above the normal body weight for someone of the same age, gender, and height.
Many factors, including an individual's age, gender, and height, are considered to determine if he/she is overweight. People increase in weight until they are fully grown. On average, females tend to gain about 16 pounds of body weight from age 25-54. In contrast, males tend to gain about 10 pounds of body weight from age 25-45. By around age 55, both men and women start to decline in weight. Females naturally have more body fat and less muscles mass than men. It is also normal for taller individuals to weigh more than shorter individuals.
Obesity is typically considered a long-term condition that often persists for many years. Researchers believe that many factors, including poor diet, overeating, pregnancy, medications, medical conditions, genetics, gender, and age, may contribute to a person becoming obese.
Obesity can have serious long-term effects on health. Individuals who are overweight have an increased risk of developing many life-threatening illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer. According to the American Heart Association, obesity was associated with nearly 112,000 deaths in 2005.
In the United States, obesity is considered an epidemic. More than half of all Americans are considered overweight, and about 20% of children are overweight. In 2005, 140 million Americans were considered overweight or obese, according to the American Heart Association. Nearly 33% of Americans are considered obese, and these numbers continue to grow.
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