What Is Obesity?

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Obesity

According to the 2003-2004 National Center for Health Statistics survey, almost one-third of American adults are considered obese. If the patterns of the past 20 years continue, that percentage will continue to grow. Obesity is a difficult condition to deal with, but it can be curbed or even prevented with lifestyle changes, especially where diet and physical activity are concerned. The Internet has many resources to help you research, understand, and eventually prevent or control obesity. For a Spanish-language version of the Guide, click here.

What Is Obesity?

Any amount of extra fat that your body has to carry can be harmful to your health, but your health is at much greater risk if you reach the point of obesity. Educating yourself about what obesity is is the first step toward preventing or controlling it in your own (or your child's) life. For a Spanish-language version of the Guide, click here.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • On many Web sites, advertisements are tailored to the audience based on the content being viewed. When viewing content about obesity on sites other than the ones listed below, you may see advertisements for weight-loss solutions, quick fixes, diet pills, or other products designed to control obesity. Be very cautious of any drug, product, or other online weight-loss system and make sure that you check with a physician about potential dangers before you buy any product or system.

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For general overviews of obesity ...
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Obesity Causes and Diagnosis

Obesity can be caused by a number of environmental and physical factors, but diagnosing obesity is somewhat more straightforward. It is best to work with your doctor to determine how much, if any, weight you need to lose but, because obesity is mainly determined by how much body fat you carry around, you can get a rough idea of where you stand weight-wise by using a few online tools.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • If you are obese, the Internet can give you plenty of information but your physician can look at your specific medical records to determine your specific cause and help you decide on a plan of action to help improve your health.
  • BMI refers to your Body Mass Index; it is a measure of the relationship between your height and weight and can help determine if you are at a healthy weight for your height.
  • Some Web sites offer BMI charts or calculators to help you determine if you are at a healthy weight; use these tools merely as a rough guide, but talk to you doctor to help you understand what your body mass index means (your health is not as straightforward as a simple math calculation).

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For the causes of obesity ... 
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Health Effects of Obesity

Some health conditions that can result from obesity are more apparent than others, and those who are obese can be at greater risk for certain ailments due to family history. Other conditions that result from obesity (like depression, in some cases) may not be so apparent. Many of the following sites can help you determine how obesity can affect your health.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Many of the conditions listed below can occur in adults who are not obese, and people who are obese will not necessarily suffer from these conditions. Talk to your doctor to determine your risk for health complications.
  • Often, losing even a little weight can help reduce your risk for health complications. But, as with any lifestyle change, check with your physician before starting any new exercise or diet regimen, especially if you are not currently active or if you already have a health condition such as diabetes.

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Preventing and Treating Obesity

For some, preventing or treating obesity will be more difficult than for others. But no matter who you are, there are little steps that you can take to help make sure that you achieve (and maintain) a healthier weight.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Do not start an intense exercise routine or a drastic change in diet without consulting your physician. Use the tips on Web sites merely as suggestions or loose guidelines; each person has specific health considerations that may not be addressed by Web sites aimed at a wide audience.

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To understand treatment and prevention methods for obesity ... 
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To help you manage what you eat ... 
For online diet information ... 
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Obesity News and Research

If you still want to find more information about obesity in any facet, you'll find almost everything you need online.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Your local newspaper may cover stories about obesity in your city or state. To find the online version of your favorite paper, try adding ".com" to its name or, if that doesn't work, typing its name in a search engine.
  • Medical journals can be a good source of information about any health issue. Although subscriptions to these journals can be very expensive, you can often find abstracts from articles online for free. Try searching the government site PubMed (a site provided by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health) for obesity-related terms to find more reading material.

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