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What is Obesity?

Obesity is defined as having abnormal/unhealthy levels of body fat. This is typically measured through the Body Mass Index, and can be used as a general measure of overall health. 

There are four possible weight categories when determining BMI:

  • Underweight: BMI below 18.5
  • Normal weight: BMI between 18.5 and 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI between 25.0 and 29.9
  • Obese: Over 30.0

BMI For Adults Widget

Why Should You Care?

  • Approximately 36% of American adults are obese
    • 17% of children in the U.S. are obese
  • Being obese can increase risks of many diseases, including:
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Some kinds of cancer
  • Medical costs in the U.S. reached $147 billion in 2008
  • Medical costs for obese people are more than $1400 higher than for patients with normal weight

Causes/Risk Factors

  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Poor Diet
  • Family History
  • Certain Diseases


  • In most cases, obesity can be removed or prevented by increasing activity levels and improving dietary choices. Current guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, as well as muscle-strengthening activities twice a week*.


  • For more in-depth information on Obesity, please visit the Center for Disease Control's Obesity web page.

* CIS does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The content is for informational purposes only. 

Source: Center for Disease Control

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