Thursday, September 11, 2014

Obesity Prevention and Awareness Week

Obesity is a state of excess adipose tissue mass. Although often viewed as equivalent to increased body weight, this need not be the case - lean but very muscular individuals may be overweight by numerical standards without having increased adiposity. Body weights are distributed continuously in populations, so that choice of a medically meaningful distinction between lean and obese is somewhat arbitrary. Obesity is therefore more effectively defined by assessing its linkage to morbidity or mortality.

Although not a direct measure of adiposity, the most widely used method to gauge obesity is body mass index. Other approaches to quantifying obesity include anthropometry (skinfold thickness), densitometry (underwater weighing), CT or MRI, and electrical impedance.

Most authorities use the term overweight rather than obese to describe individuals with BMI between 25 and 30. A BMI between 25 and 30 should be viewed as medically significant and worthy of therapeutic intervention especially int he presence of risk factors that are influenced by adiposity such as hypertension and glucose intolerance.

Source: Flier, J. S., and Flier, E. M-.  2012. Biology of Obesity. In Longo, D. L., Fauci, A. S., Kasper, D. L., Hauser, S. L., Jameson, J. L., and Loscalzo (Eds.), Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (Vol. 1; 18th ed.; pp. 622-629). United States of America: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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