Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. This condition puts people at a higher risk for serious diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI is a calculation that takes a person’s weight and height into account. However, BMI does have some limitations.
According to the CDC, "Factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, and muscle mass can influence the relationship between BMI and body fat. Also, BMI doesn’t distinguish between excess fat, muscle, or bone mass, nor does it provide any indication of the distribution of fat among individuals."
Despite these limitations, BMI continues to be widely used as an indicator of excess weight.
Eating more calories than you burn in daily activity and exercise (on a long-term basis) causes obesity. Over time, these extra calories add up and cause you to gain weight.
Common specific causes of obesity include:
Certain medical conditions may also lead to weight gain. These include: