What is Obesity?
Obesity means weighing more than what is healthy for a given height. Obesity is a serious, chronic disease. It can lead to other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
Defining Adult Overweight & Obesity
Weight that is higher than what is considered healthy for a given height is described as overweight or obesity. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a screening tool for overweight and obesity.
To calculate BMI, see the Adult BMI Calculator or determine BMI by finding your height and weight in this BMI Index Chart.
If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.
If your BMI is 18.5 to <25, it falls within the healthy weight range.
If your BMI is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range.
If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obesity range.
What are the three types of obesity?
Obesity is frequently subdivided into categories:
Class 1: BMI of 30 to < 35
Class 2: BMI of 35 to < 40
Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher. Class 3 obesity is sometimes categorized as “severe” obesity.
Note: For individuals, BMI is screening tool, but it does not diagnose body fatness or health. A trained health care provider should perform appropriate assessments to evaluate an individual’s health status and risks. If you have questions about your BMI, talk with your health care provider.
What are the causes of Obesity?
Obesity is a complex disease that occurs when an individual’s weight is higher than what is considered healthy for his or her height. Obesity affects children as well as adults. Many factors can contribute to excess weight gain including eating patterns, physical activity levels, and sleep routines. Social determinants of health, genetics, and taking certain medications also play a role.
Obesity Quick Facts:
Approximately 21-24% of American children and adolescents are overweight, and another 16-18% is obese
Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. These are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death.
Non-Hispanic Black adults (49.9%) had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by Hispanic adults (45.6%), non-Hispanic White adults (41.4%) and non-Hispanic Asian adults (16.1%).
The obesity prevalence was 39.8% among adults aged 20 to 39 years, 44.3% among adults aged 40 to 59 years, and 41.5% among adults aged 60 and older.
Global Obesity Facts
In 2019, an estimated 38.2 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight or obese.
Once considered a high-income country problem, overweight and obesity are now on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings.
In Africa, the number of overweight children under 5 has increased by nearly 24% percent since 2000.
Almost half of the children under 5 who were overweight or obese in 2019 lived in Asia.
What are the treatments for Obesity?
Common treatments for overweight and obesity include losing weight through healthy eating, being more physically active, and making other changes to your usual habits. Weight-management programs may help some people lose weight or keep from regaining lost weight. Some people who have obesity are unable to lose enough weight to improve their health or are unable to keep from regaining weight. In such cases, a doctor may consider adding other treatments, including weight-loss medicines, weight-loss devices, or bariatric surgery.
Experts recommend losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight within the first 6 months of treatment.  If you weigh 200 pounds, this means losing as little as 10 pounds. Losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight may help lower your chances of developing health problems related to overweight and obesity improve health problems related to overweight and obesity, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels
Obesity Research, What’s Next?
What about clinical trials for overweight and obesity?
Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Scientists are conducting research to learn more about overweight and obesity, including studies on the role of dietary patterns in obesity development and treatment; novel behavioral, medication, device, and surgical approaches; and other research areas that can tell us more about why people develop obesity or respond to treatment. For example, scientists are conducting clinical trials to:
identify which patients may respond to a specific drug or type of diet
learn how bacteria in in a person’s gastrointestinal tract may affect his or her risk of becoming overweight or obese
study how metabolism influences obesity and related health conditions
investigate how a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy can affect her later health and the health of her baby
learn how physical activity improves or maintains weight and overall health
Childhood Obesity Quick Facts
Quick facts are for children and adolescents in the US aged 2-19 years
The prevalence of obesity was 19.7% and affected about 14.7 million children and adolescents.
Obesity prevalence was 12.7% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 20.7% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 22.2% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations.
Obesity prevalence was 26.2% among Hispanic children, 24.8% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.6% among non-Hispanic White children, and 9.0% among non-Hispanic Asian children.
Obesity-related conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea, and joint problems.
-Childhood Obesity Facts (CDC)
Childhood obesity: Science and solutions
Preventing Childhood Obesity: 4 Things Families Can Do
Model a Healthy Eating Pattern
Move More as a Family
Set Consistent Sleep Routines
Replace Screen Time with Family Time
Association Between Childhood Weight Loss and Adult Obesity (National Library of Medicine)
Global Obesity & Overweight Data World Health Organization (WHO)