What is overweight and Obesity?

Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.
Key Links

Overweight & Obesity
Aim for a Healthy Weight
Physical Activity

For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat.  Overweight and Obesity means having excess body fat.

  • An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
  • An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

Causes of Obesity

  • Weight gain occurs when people eat too much food and get too little physical activity.
  • Some Americans have less access to stores and markets that provide healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables, especially in rural, minority and lower-income neighborhoods.
  • Restaurants, snack shops, and vending machines provide food that is often higher in calories and fat than food made at home.
  • There is too much sugar in our diet. Six out of 10 adults drink at least 1 sugary drink per day.
  • It is often easier and cheaper to get less healthy foods and beverages.
  • Access to parks and recreation centers may be difficult or lacking and public transportation may not available.
  • Safe routes for walking or biking to school, work, or play may not exist.

Health issues linked with Obesity:

Obesity is a contributing cause of many other health problems, including heart disease,
stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer.  These are some of the leading causes of death
in the U.S. Obesity can cause sleep apnea and breathing problems and make activity more
difficult. Obesity can also cause problems during pregnancy or make it more difficult
for a woman to become pregnant.

What can you do?

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer foods high in fat and sugar.  See http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
  • Drink more water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Limit TV watching in kids to less than 2 hours a day and don’t put one in their room at all.
  • Promote policies and programs at school, at work, and in the community that make the healthy choice the easy choice.
  • Try going for a 10-minute brisk walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week.    
    See http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html.