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Obesity is an excess accumulation of body fat. Although the underlying mechanisms that regulate body fat metabolism are still being sorted out, obesity is clearly the result of an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure.
Obesity has long been considered to be a behavioral disease explained by inappropriate eating and activity habits. Recent scientific studies have indicated, however, that obesity is the result of many complex interactions between behavioral, cultural, psychological and biological factors. It is important to keep in mind that obesity has multiple causes.
Although there is still debate on many aspects of the causes of obesity, it is clear that the balance of energy expenditure, through exercise, and energy intake, through diet, are central to the development or prevention of obesity. The precise determination of the amount of body fat in a person requires technically sophisticated methods that are not generally available to the public. Rough estimates of the amount of body fat, or adipose tissue, can be easily obtained through the use of various anthropometric methods. One of the simplest and most common methods is the calculation of body mass index (BMI). BMI has been shown to correlate well with sophisticated measurements of body fatness and with the risk for adverse health effects.
Increased body weight represents a significant risk for development of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), hypertension (high blood pressure), hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol), coronary artery disease (CAD) and several forms of cancer. For individuals 20 percent above their desirable body weight, the prevalence of hypertension (blood pressure greater than 160/95) is nearly 3 times higher than among non-overweight individuals. Being overweight more than doubles the incidence of hypercholesterolemia (blood cholesterol above 200 mg/dl) compared to normal weight individuals. The incidence of diabetes is almost tripled in overweight men and women compared to their non-overweight counterparts. Obesity is also associated with a higher mortality from many forms of cancer in both men and women. In men, risk of cancer of the colon, rectum and prostate is increased by obesity, while in women, elevated body fatness increases the risk of cancer of the breast, gallbladder and bile ducts, uterus and ovaries.
Data from a number of large insurance studies have indicated that the higher the degree of obesity, the higher the rate of premature death. Even moderate degrees of overweight substantially increase the risk for chronic disease. Because of the substantial difficulties encountered in trying to lose large amounts of weight, it may be more realistic for many people to focus their efforts not so much on weight loss, but on increasing physical activity. With regular physical activity, modest reductions in body weight and body fat with great fat loss program fat diminisher (10% or less) are easy to achieve and maintain, yet they can result in dramatic improvements in health.