Essay by dmbman027University, Bachelor'sA+, February 2007

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"We want obesity understood by the health care community and patients as a serious disease of epidemic portions."

-American Obesity Association-

The American Obesity Association (AOA) believes that obesity is a disease and should be recognized as such. Obesity is becoming an increasing problem throughout the world, and the United States of America it is no exception. In fact the US has some of the highest rates of overweight and obese people compared to other countries. According to data from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) almost two thirds or 66% of adults in US are overweight and nearly 31% are obese (online1). This epidemic has silently taken over our country without much resistance from the public. Unfortunately obesity is becoming more accepted in our culture and it seems the risks, complications, and rising costs that accompany overweight and obese people are being seen as more of a fact of life rather than being seen as a major factor of the cause an effect equation.

Although being overweight, obese and morbidly obese can be classified differently the lines that separate them are quite blurry in the eyes of the general public. Classifying obesity has changed throughout recent years and has become more than just a measurement of weight. However, weight versus our height is how we measure our Body Mass Index (BMI) and this is a vital instrument, and a reliable starting point for gauging levels of obesity. Obesity ranges from being slightly overweight to morbidly obese. But what does this all mean? If you overweight are you automatically considered to be obese? How do we define obesity?

Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat or adipose tissue in relation to lean body mass. The amount of body fat (or adiposity) includes...