OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology
Obesity in the United States is epidemic. The rate of obesity has been steadily rising since the 1980s. In the 1990s, most states reported that less than 10 percent of their populations was obese, and the state with the highest rate reported that only 15 percent of their population was considered obese. By 2010, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly 36 percent of adults over 20 years old were obese and an additional 33 percent were overweight, leaving only about 30 percent of the population at a healthy weight. These studies find the highest levels of obesity are concentrated in the southern states. They also find the level of childhood obesity is rising.
Obesity is defined by the body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of an individual’s weight-to-height ratio. The normal, or healthy, BMI range is between 18 and 24.9 kg/m2 . Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 , and obesity is considered to be a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 . Obesity can arise from a number of factors, including overeating, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, limited sleep, genetic factors, and even diseases or drugs. Severe obesity (morbid obesity) or long-term obesity can result in serious medical conditions, including coronary heart disease; type 2 diabetes; endometrial, breast, or colon cancer; hypertension (high blood pressure); dyslipidemia (high cholesterol or elevated triglycerides); stroke; liver disease; gall bladder disease; sleep apnea or respiratory diseases; osteoarthritis; and infertility. Research has shown that losing weight can help reduce or reverse the complications associated with these conditions.
Betts, J. G., Young, K. A., Wise, J. A., Johnson, E., Poe, B., Kruse, D. H., … DeSaix, P. (n.d.). Anatomy and Physiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax.
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