Obesity in Adults

Obesity refers to an excess of body fat, putting affected individuals at risk for chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.

In America, one quarter of all adults are obese. Women generally have more body fat than men, so are allowed a greater percentage of body fat before being labelled as obese. A certain amount of body fat is useful as it provides insulation to keep us warm, shock absorption in case we fall, and stored energy if we experience a shortage of food. Women with more than 30 percent body fat and men with greater than 25 percent body fat are considered to be obese by health care professionals. Occasionally, someone with a lot of muscle will appear to be obese, when they are actually just overweight.

Obesity occurs when a person takes in more calories than he or she needs. However, calorie requirements differ between individuals, and other factors may play a role in determining how efficiently our bodies use food. Other causes that contribute to obesity include genetics (heredity), environment, psychological issues, certain illnesses, or medications.

It is estimated that 280,000 adult deaths in the US are linked to obesity. In addition to this, obesity causes a great deal of emotional suffering, embarrassment, and shame. Modern society places an emphasis on thin, lean body types, especially for women. This tendency to link slimness with attractiveness can have devastating consequences among people struggling with obesity. Obese adults suffer a great deal of unhappiness from discrimination, resulting in feelings of hopelessness and depression.

Obesity is considered to be a serious health condition. Treatment includes diet, exercise, behavior modification, and medication. Gastric bypass surgery may be suggested in cases of severe or morbid obesity, in order to manage this life threatening condition.

Related Articles

Children and Obesity

Obesity Health Problems

Obesity in Teens

Obesity Risk Factors

The Obesity Gene

US Obesity Statistics

Obesity Treatments

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on EatingDisorders.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of EatingDisorders.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017 EatingDisorders.com.
Company Information

© 2017 EatingDisorders.com. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of EatingDisorders.com's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.