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Reality check: the problem of obesity in our society

It is estimated that over 60% of Canadian adults are overweight or obese. It's ironic that North Americans are heavier than ever despite the increasing focus over the past few decades on weight loss, exercise and reduced fat intake. For most people, diets mean denial and deprivation – and therefore cause overeating once the diet is stopped.

So, what is obesity, exactly? Obesity is characterized by the accumulation of fat tissue. BMI is usually used as a screening tool for obesity. If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, you’re considered obese. Some health practitioners define obesity by the amount of fat content of the body. Obesity is usually defined as a body fat content greater than 25% of the total weight for males, or greater than 33% of the total weight for females.

So what causes obesity? It's not just a question of eating too much – though that can be a factor. Actually, there are many contributing factors. These can include:

  • consuming too many calories
  • low activity levels
  • genetics
  • body metabolism
  • social factors
  • economic factors
  • psychological/emotional factors

So, what's all the fuss and concern? Obesity has serious health consequences. The complications resulting of obesity can have a considerable negative effect on the quality and length of a person's life. These complications can also have a significant impact on health care costs. People who are obese are at a higher risk of numerous illnesses, including heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. Obesity also increases the risk of:

  • heart disease
  • some forms of cancer
  • high blood pressure
  • gall bladder problems
  • reproductive problems
  • sleeping problems
  • osteoarthritis
  • diabetes

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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