Obesity simply means having too much body fat, which is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. The weight may come from muscle, bone, fat and/or body water. Both terms mean that a person’s weight is greater than what is considered healthy for his or her height. Obesity occurs over time when a person consumes a high caloric diet, which exceeds the caloric expenditure of that person. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs from person to person. Factors that might tip the balance include a person’s genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods, and not being physically active. Being obese increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and some cancers according to the Surgeon General 2010 report.

If a person is obese, losing 5 to 10 percent of their bodyweight can delay or prevent some of these diseases. Since the mid-seventies, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased dramatically for both adults and children. Data from two NHANES surveys show that among adults aged 20–74 years old, the prevalence of obesity has increased from 15.0% (in the 1976–1980 survey) to 32.9% in the 2003–2004 survey. The two surveys show an increase in the amount of children and teens that are considered to be obese. For children aged 2–5 years, the prevalence of being overweight increased from 5.0% to 13.9%; for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 18.8%; and for those aged 12–19 years, increased from 5.0% to 17.4%. These increasing rates raise concern because of their implications for the healthcare of Americans. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of many diseases and health problems such as: hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and cancers like breast, colon, and endometrial.

Many people do not know if they are considered obese or not, it is a general rule that a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 Kg/m2 is considered obese. Patients who are overweight or have a BMI of 25-29.9 Kg/m2, do not have a high waist >.8 measurement, have less than two risk factors, and may need to prevent further weight gain rather than lose weight. People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing hypertension, hyperlipidemia or other lipid disorders, type 2 diabetes, Coronary heart disease, myocardial infractions, stroke, and certain cancers. There are a lot of people who are not properly assessing obesity and there are lots of people that think they are not obese or overweight. Some people think they are not obese and think that the disease factors of obesity don’t apply to them. According to a study done at the University of Emory, which looked at participants describing their current weight status as underweight, about right, slightly overweight, or very overweight, they took analysis’s and compared it with a self-reported BMI in order to determine concordance. The results was while most of the obese participants recognized that they were overweight, many of them, particularly the men did not realize the extent to which they were overweight or the fact that they even had a weight issue.

In conclusion, obesity is one of the largest and most serious epidemics facing our country today the CDC calls obesity the “greatest public health risk in our country.” The result of the increase in obesity has increased the prevalence of type 2 diabetes by almost 37%. People need to modify their diet, increase their physical activity, and stop eating fast food. Making a few small changes to a person’s lifestyle can prevent some of the most dangerous diseases in the world.