Thursday, August 18, 2011

General Definition of Obesity

At its simplest level, obesity arises when there is an excess of body fat.

Obesity is generally defined as the abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat in adipose tissue with multiple program specific adaptive or maladaptive consequences.

People with enormous amounts of body fat are easily identified as being obese. However, the point where ‘normal’ becomes ‘excessive’ depends on why obesity is being identified; how obesity is being measured; and the particular index, formula, or number used to define obesity.

The definition of obesity most often used in a research context is based on body mass index (BMI), obesity being defined as BMI 30 or more.

BMI, the most widely used measure of obesity is a measure of body fatness based on height and weight. In general, men have a higher BMI than women, and in Western nations BMI increases with increasing age in both males and females.

In addition, international or regional weight status standards for children and adolescents may be less reliable as the age of onset of puberty and its associated physical changes often varies between different countries, ethnic groups or cultures.

The prevalence of obesity is increasing across all age cohorts including individuals ages 65 years and older. On the later years of life, the prevalence of obesity rise and falls with age.

During growth in childhood and adolescence, not only does height increase but body composition changes as well, thus classification of obesity according to a single measure is difficult.

Cross sectional data reveals peaks in older individuals between 50 and 60 years of age and then declines between 60 to 80 years of age.
General Definition of Obesity
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