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The Issue of Weight Management: Obesity, Risks & Weight Problems

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  • 0:01 Obesity vs. Being Overweight
  • 0:38 Body Mass Index
  • 1:56 Obesity by the Numbers
  • 3:29 Risks & Problems of…
  • 5:42 Why Fat Is So Dangerous?
  • 6:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
Being overweight or obese are two conditions that have similarities in the problems they may cause, but they aren't precisely the same. This lesson will point out the differences and the unfortunate similarities between the two.

Obesity vs. Being Overweight

Almost everyone, including myself, make a New Year's resolution to try and better our mind, heart, and body. Most of us either want to increase the amount of time we exercise or lose some weight. Those are great goals because inactivity can lead to obesity, and obesity is a word that opens up a Pandora's box to a myriad of problems for our body. Obesity is defined as a condition where a person's body mass index (BMI) is 30-39.9, whereas overweight is a state where a person's body mass index (BMI) is 25-29.9.

Body Mass Index

You may have noticed that an odd term, body mass index (BMI), is used in both the definition of obesity and overweight. No worries. We're about to discuss what it means. BMI is an approximation of body composition calculated using an adult person's height and weight. Precisely speaking, you can calculate it yourself by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing that number by your height (in meters) squared. Our little equation here is:

BMI = weight (in kg) / height (in meters)^2

But for simplicity's sake you can think of a person who is overweight as having a bit too much weight for their particular height. Obese individuals are those that have way too much too weight for their specific height. Obesity has an even more serious extreme where somebody may be morbidly (severely) obese, which is a state where the BMI is greater than or equal to 40. In the surgical field, those individuals that have a BMI of over 50 are sometimes called super obese.

Just as a side note here, in case you were wondering, people with a BMI of 18.5-24.9 are considered to be of normal weight, but those that have a BMI of less than 18.5 are technically underweight by this measurement's standards.

Obesity by the Numbers

According to the World Health Organization, in the past 30 years alone, obesity has almost doubled in our world! Blame it on fast food, a sedentary life-style, or whatever you want. In 2008, over one-third of adults over the age of 20 were overweight and 11% were obese. To put that into a better perspective for you, that means that more than 1.4 billion people were overweight!

What's slightly more perturbing is that 40 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2011. Actually, most people live in countries where being overweight or obese kills more people than being underweight.

As for the U.S., sadly we are way worse than the global numbers we just learned about. Stunningly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2010 that almost 70% of this country's adults (aged 20 or more) are, at the very minimum, overweight! 35.9% of this country's adults aren't just overweight, they're obese. Roughly 12% of children ages 2-5 are obese, and 18% of children and adolescents aged 6-19 are obese as well. It turns out that this obesity costs the U.S. close to $150 billion in yearly medical-related expenses.

The Risks & Problems of Too Much Weight

Who cares? They're just numbers! I can agree that numbers can be cold and impersonal, and that's why I'll end this lesson about the discussion of what being overweight and obese can lead to on a personal level, besides just the increased risk of death. Being overweight or obese predisposes a person to many painful and dangerous conditions or complicates these problems even further.

Too much body weight increases the risk of developing arthritis, inflammation of the joints. This is a painful condition, one that will make it harder for you to move around and enjoy life with family and friends. Arthritis, to your joints, is like grinding your fist into really rough sandpaper every time you move an arm or leg. It may not be apparent at first, but with time, it'll really hurt!

Obesity also makes surgical procedures far riskier not only because it is more difficult to physically perform a procedure on an obese person but also because the risks from anesthesia increase. Diabetes, a disease that leads to increased levels of blood sugar, is a commonly heard of issue that often goes hand in hand with obesity. Diabetes may progress to the point where your feet or even legs will have to be amputated.

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