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Obesity and Overweight

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Defining Overweight and Obesity – Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

Definitions for Adults – For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat.

  • An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
  • An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

See the following details for an example:

Weight Example

The following information is for a person who has a height of 5′ 9.”

1. If they weigh 124 lbs or less (BMI is below 18.5), they are considered underweight.

2. If they are 125 lbs to 168 lbs (BMIis 18.5 to 24.9), they are considered healthy weight.

3. If they 169 lbs to 202 lbs (BMI 25.0 to 29.9), they are considered overweight.

4. If they are 203 lbs or more (BMI 30 or higher), they are considred obese.

Determine your waist circumference by placing a measuring tape snugly around your waist. It is a good indicator of your abdominal fat, which is another predictor of your risk for developing risk factors for heart disease and other diseases. This risk increases with a waist measurement of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women. Talk to your doctor to see if you are at an increased risk and if you should lose weight. Your doctor will evaluate your BMI, waist measurement, and other risk factors for heart disease.

People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol or other lipid disorders, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers, while even a small weight loss (just 10 % of your current weight) will help lower your risks of developing those diseases.

Causes – Excessive calorie consumption is the key contributor to overweight and obesity problems. Whenever a person consumes more calories than the body can use, the excess calories are turned into fat. Some of this excess fat floats around in the blood, collecting on the arteries and blocking the flow of blood. Then the abdominal area collects the rest of the excess fat in the midsection. One pound of fat is created for every 3,500 excess calories consumed.

Risks – It should be noted that every extra pound shaves about one month from your life span. In other words, sixty extra pounds can cost you five years of life!

Obesity is the gateway for a host of dietary related diseases. Obese people are:

  • Three times more likely to suffer from heart disease;
  • Four times more likely to suffer from high blood pressure;
  • Five times more likely to develop diabetes and elevated cholesterol;
  • And they are also at higher risk of developing cancer of the colon, rectum, prostate, breast, cervix, uterus, and ovaries, and to suffer osteoarthritis and low back pain.

Losing just a small amount of weight will significantly reduce the risk for heart disease in men, while a 10 % increase in weight will produce a 30% increase in coronary disease in men. Excess fat is directly related to health, even in small amounts.

Controlling Your Weight – If you need to lose weight or if you need help to maintain your current weight, the following items can help you get started:

Selecting A Weight Loss Program

Guide to Physical Activity

Guide to Behavior Change

Portion Distortion

Shopping: What to Look For


Sample Reduced-Calorie Menus

Food Exchange List

Tip Sheets

Daily Food and Activity Diary

Menu Planner 

Out of necessity, many obese people suffering from various complications and diseases have learned to change their diet. Those people, with determination and a will to survive have succeeded in becoming healthy once again. They have learned that cutting out meat products, processed foods, fast-foods, high sugar and high sodium foods, while incorporating whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes into the diet is the only way to return back to health.

It is not easy to go against the strong current of an unhealthy society but it is a necessity, however, good health is worth the price of admission.

Test Your Knowledge
Take the Quiz: Obesity & Overweight

This short quiz tests your knowledge on: Obesity and Overweight. Follow the directions for each question. When completed, insert your email address and you will instantly receive your graded response. Be sure to check your SPAM folder for your automated response.

Answer the questions below

1. Height and weight are both used to calculate overweight and obesity ranges. This number is called the BMI (body mass index).

2. An adult with a BMI of 30 or above is said to be obese.

3.Abdominal fat is another predictor of risk factors for heart disease and other obesity related diseases.

4. A waist measurement of 40+ inches in men and 35+ inches in women increases the risks for heart disease and other diseases.

5. Eating late at night is the primary cause for overweight and obese problems.

6. A small weight loss of just 10% can reduce the risks of developing many dietary diseases.

7.One pound of fat is created for every 3500 extra calories consumed.

8.How much of your life span is shaved off by every pound of extra body weight? (Select only one)

9.A 10% increase in weight will produce what percentage of increased risk for heart disease for men? (Select only one)

10. Obese persons are 5 times more likely to develop diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels.

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