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Overweight in adults is defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25. Obesity in adults is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 30. In children, being overweight or obese is based on being above normal ranges on growth charts. Being overweight or obese occurs when the amount of calories you take in is consistently greater than the number of calories you use during activity and basic bodily functions.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 1.4 billion overweight adults and about 500 million obese adults worldwide. And these numbers are expected to rise. In the US, an estimated 70% of adults are either overweight or obese. American children and teens are also affected. An estimated 17% of children and young adults aged 2-19 are obese.
Being obese can increase your risk of early death and shorten life expectancy.
Other complications of untreated obesity include:
What are the risk factors for obesity?
What are the symptoms of obesity?
How is obesity diagnosed?
What are the treatments for obesity?
Are there screening tests for obesity?
How can I reduce my risk of obesity?
What questions should I ask my doctor?
Where can I get more information about obesity?
Last reviewed February 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
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