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Overweight and Obesity

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Over 60 percent of American adults are either overweight or obese.


Obesity (definition)
Energy imbalance

Diseases and Drugs
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Calculating BMI
How does BMI relate to health?


The term "overweight" refers to increased body weight in relation to height, when compared to some standard
of acceptable or desirable weight.
NOTE: Overweight may or may not be due to increases in body fat.
It may also be due to an increase in lean muscle.
For example, professional athletes may be very lean and muscular, with very little body fat, yet they may weigh more
than others of the same height.
While they may qualify as "overweight" due to their large muscle mass, they are not necessarily "over fat,"
regardless of BMI (body mass index)

Obesity (definition):
Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat or adipose tissue in relation to lean body mass.
The amount of body fat (or adiposity) includes concern for both the distribution of fat throughout the body
and the size of the adipose tissue deposits.
Body fat distribution can be estimated by skinfold measures, waist-to-hip circumference ratios, or techniques
such as ultrasound, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging.


Energy imbalance (when the number of calories consumed is not equal to the number of calories used).
Overweight and obesity result from an energy imbalance maintained over a long period of time.
This involves eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity.

Body weight is the result of genes, metabolism, behavior, environment, culture, and socioeconomic status.
The cause of energy imbalance for each individual may be due to a combination of these factors.

Science shows that genetics plays a role in obesity.
Genes can directly cause obesity in disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome.

However genes do not always predict future health.
Genes and behavior may both be needed for a person to be overweight.
In some cases multiple genes may increase one’s susceptibility for obesity and require outside factors;
such as abundant food supply or little physical activity.

Genetics and the environment may increase the risk of personal weight gain.
However, the choices a person makes in eating and physical activity also contributes to overweight and obesity.
Behavior can increase a person’s risk for gaining weight.
Looking back at the energy balance scale, weight gain is a result of extra calorie consumption,
decreasing calories used (physical activity) or both.
Personal choices concerning calorie consumption and physical activity can lead to energy imbalance.

Diseases and Drugs
Some illnesses may lead to obesity or weight gain.
These may include Cushing's disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may also cause weight gain.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
Individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight, while individuals with a BMI of 30 or more
are considered obese.

Body Mass Index or BMI is a tool for indicating weight status in adults. It is a measure of weight for height.
For adults over 20 years old, BMI falls into one of these categories:

BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5
18.5 – 24.9 Normal
25.0 – 29.9 
30.0 and Above Obese

BMI correlates with body fat.
The relation between fatness and BMI differs with age and gender.
For example, women are more likely to have a higher percent of body fat than men for the same BMI.
On average, older people may have more body fat than younger adults with the same BMI.

BMI chart

Calculating BMI

Using pounds and inches:
BMI = (              Weight in Pounds            
) x 703
(Height in inches) x (Height in inches)

For example, a person who weighs 220 pounds and is 6 feet 3 inches tall has a BMI of 27.5.
BMI = (              220 lbs.             ) x 703  =  27.5
(75 inches) x (75 inches)

Using kilograms and meters:
BMI = (              Weight in Kilograms             )
(Height in Meters) x (Height in Meters)

For example, a person who weighs 99.79 Kilograms and is 1.905 Meters (190.50 centimeters) tall has a BMI of 27.5.
BMI = (              99.79 Kg             )  = 27.5
(1.905 m) x (1.905 m)

How does BMI relate to health?

The BMI ranges are based on the effect body weight has on disease and death.
As BMI increases, the risk for some disease increases.

Some common conditions related to overweight and obesity include
·    Premature death
·    Cardiovascular disease
·    High blood pressure
·    Osteoarthritis
·    Some cancers
·    Diabetes

BMI is just one of many factors related to developing a chronic disease (such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes).

Other factors that may be important to look at when assessing your risk for chronic disease include:
·    Diet
·    Physical Activity
·    Waist Circumference
·    Blood Pressure
·    Blood Sugar Level
·    Cholesterol Level
·    Family History of disease


All persons who are obese or overweight should try not to gain additional weight.
In addition, those who are obese or who are overweight with other risk factors should consider losing weight.
A complete health assessment by a physician is the best way to decide the right steps for you.
Even a small weight loss (just 10% of your current weight) may help to lower the risk of disease.

Physical activity and good nutrition are key factors in leading a healthy lifestyle and reducing risk for disease.

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A variety of healthy foods in the correct portion sizes is helpful for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Decrease calorie consumption: pre-packaged foods, fast food restaurants, and soft drinks are fast and convenient
they also tend to be high in fat, sugar, and calories.
Choosing many foods from these areas may contribute to an excessive calorie intake.
Some foods are marketed as healthy, low fat, or fat-free, but may contain more calories than the fat containing food,
they are designed to replace.
It is important to read food labels for nutritional information and to eat in moderation.
Larger portion size during a meal or snack can results in increased calorie consumption.
If the body does not burn off the extra calories consumed from larger portions, fast food, or soft drinks,
weight gain can occur.

Our bodies need calories for daily functions such as breathing, digestion, and daily activities.
Weight gain occurs when calories consumed exceed this need.

Physical activity
plays a key role in energy balance because it uses up calories consumed.
Increase physical activity  (any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in an expenditure of energy)
and leisure time activities:
Walking, skating, biking, swimming, playing Frisbee, dancing Structured sports or exercise Softball,
tennis, football, aerobics


Regular physical activity is good for overall health.
Physical activity decreases the risk for colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
It also helps to control weight, contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; reduces falls among the elderly;
and helps to relieve the pain of arthritis.
Physical activity does not have to be strenuous to be beneficial.
Moderate physical activity, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking five or more times a week, also has health benefits.

According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, in 2000 more than 26% of adults reported no leisure time
physical activity.
Moderate-intensity activities such as household chores, gardening, and walking can also provide health benefits.

Confidence in one’s ability to be active will help people make choices to adopt a physically active lifestyle.
·     Reduce time spent watching television and in other sedentary behaviors
·     Build physical activity into regular routines
·     Increases daily and leisure time physical activity
·    Increases calories used
·    Decreases excessive calorie consumption
·    Increases daily physical activity
·     including at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and reasonable portion sizes
·    Increases leisure time physical activity

 A health professional is the best source to tell you whether illnesses, medications, or psychological factors
are contributing to weight gain or making weight loss hard.

To discuss your situation in more detail:
Contact Dr. Comas
tel: (416) 515-8493

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