Obesity is the excessive accumulation of adipose tissue to an extent that health is impaired.
Check your BMI
Body Mass Index (BMI) is the standard measurement of choice for many health professionals. BMI is based on a weight-to-height ratio. Overweight is defined as a BMI>=25 and <30 kg/m². Obesity is defined as a BMI >=30 kg/m². Obesity correlates strongly with obesity related co-morbid conditions and mortality.
Waist circumference is another widely used measurement to determine abdominal fat content. An excess of abdominal fat, when out of proportion to total body fat, is considered a predictor of risk factors related to obesity. Men with a waist measurement exceeding 40 inches are considered at risk. Women are at risk with a waist measurement of 35 inches or greater.
Several Health Risks and Conditions Associated with Obesity Include:
Some types of Cancer
Obesity – an Epidemic
Overweight and obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, as well as worldwide.(3) Data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that the prevalence of obesity, defined as a body mass index >30 kg/m² has increased from 12.8% in 1976-1980 to 22.5% in 1988-1994 and 30% in 1999-2000. 4) Roughly 31% of American adults meet the criterion for obesity – about 59 million American adults. More than 64% of the US adult population have a BMI >=25 kg/m².(4) In an effort to increase public awareness of the epidemic proportion of obesity, the Surgeon General has issued a call to action to prevent and treat overweight and obesity and their associated health complications.(5)
Decreasing Dietary Fat Is Associated with a Decrease in Body Weight
Let’s talk about some of the dietary changes that can be considered to help reduce energy intake. There is a lot of clutter in the press and popular publications. Diet books usually occupy a couple of places in the top ten lists of nonfiction books, although in some cases I think they should probably be on the fiction list, depending on the particular diet. A lot of people are confused about what they are supposed to be eating to lose weight.
I want to emphasize that calories are very important. You may need to emphasize that to your patients because I think many people have lost sight of that. One number that you might want to remember for working with your patients is that 3,500 calories energy is contained in every pound of body fat, and so in order to lose a pound of body fat, not water, it’s necessary to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in.
By the same token, the person who takes in 3,500 calories more than they burn would expect on average to gain a pound of body fat. Even a hundred calories a day difference between intake and expenditure, if continued in the same direction, over the course of a year can amount to a ten pound body fat difference.
This can certainly explain how it is that we can gain weight continuously over time, even when taking in a hundred extra calories a day. On the other hand, for the patient who is a little discouraged, pointing out some ways that they can reduce their energy intake by a hundred calories a day, and perhaps increase their expenditure by a hundred calories a day can make it seem much more manageable.
Apart from the calories, people want to know what the constituents of their diets should be. This slide is a summary of 37 studies that were conducted using cholesterol-lowering diet step 1 and step 2. They have been graphed according to the average reduction in body fat and dietary fat, compared to the change in body weight.
You can see that in general, the interventions that resulted in the greatest reduction in dietary fat also had the greatest effect on weight loss. So it obviously shows the wisdom of trying to lower dietary fat from the diet.