Overweight in adults is defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25. Obesity in adults is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 30. In children, being overweight or obese is based on being above normal ranges on growth charts. Being overweight or obese occurs when the amount of calories you take in is consistently greater than the number of calories you use during activity and basic bodily functions.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 1.4 billion overweight adults and about 500 million obese adults worldwide. And these numbers are expected to rise. In the US, an estimated 70% of adults are either overweight or obese. American children and teens are also affected. An estimated 17% of children and young adults aged 2-19 are obese.
Being obese can increase your risk of early death and shorten life expectancy.
Other complications of untreated obesity include:
What are the risk factors for obesity?
What are the symptoms of obesity?
How is obesity diagnosed?
What are the treatments for obesity?
Are there screening tests for obesity?
How can I reduce my risk of obesity?
What questions should I ask my doctor?
Where can I get more information about obesity?
Complications of obesity. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated July 25, 2012. Accessed August 28, 2012. Updated February 15, 2013. Accessed March 20, 2013.
Data, Maps, and Trends. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/databases.html . Updated April 27, 2012. Accessed March 20, 2012.
Obesity and overweight. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en . Updated March 2013. Accessed March 20, 2013.
Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated March 7, 2013. . Accessed March 20, 2013.
Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated March 20, 2013. Accessed March 20, 2013.
Snow V, Barry P, Fitteman N, Qaseem A et al: Pharmacologic and Surgical Management of Obesity in Primary Care: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med . 2005;142:525-31.
Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, et al. Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999-2010. JAMA . 2012;307(5):483-490.
9/30/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Samuels-Kalow ME, Funai EF, Buhimschi C, et al. Prepregnancy body mass index, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, and long-term maternal mortality. Am J Obstet Gynecol . 2007;197:490.e1-6. Epub 2007 Aug 21.
12/2/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Pischon T, Boeing H, Hoffmann K, et al. General and abdominal adiposity and risk of death in Europe. N Engl J Med . 2008;359:2105-2120.
2/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Subak L, Wing R, Smith West D, et al. Weight loss to treat urinary incontinence in overweight and obese women. N Engl J Med . 2009;360:481-490.
4/16/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Neovius M, Sundström J, Rasmussen F. Combined effects of overweight and smoking in late adolescence on subsequent mortality: nationwide cohort study. BMJ . 2009 Feb 24;338:b496.
10/16/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Krul M, van der Wouden JC, Schellevis FG, van Suijlekom-Smit LW, Koes BW. Musculoskeletal problems in overweight and obese children. Ann Fam Med . 2009;7:352-356.
1/15/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Shiri R, Karppinen J, Leino-Arjas P, Solovieva S, Viikari-Juntura E. The association between obesity and low back pain: a meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol . 2010;171(2):135-54.
1/29/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Kuk JL, Ardern CI. Influence of age on the association between various measures of obesity and all-cause mortality. J Am Geriatr Soc . 2009 Sep 15.
10/1/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Zaman A. Diabetes and obesity greatly contribute to hepatocellular carcinoma. NEJM Journal Watch. Available at: http://www.jwatch.org/na32053/2013/09/11/diabetes-and-obesity-greatly-contribute-hepatocellular?query=topic_nutritionPublished September 11, 2013. Accessed October 1, 2013.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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