Obesity is a biological, preventable and treatable disease that means a person has too much body fat. There are different factors that can contribute to a person having obesity, including family history and one’s environment. Obesity is not a character flaw, consequence of poor will power or anyone’s fault. Obesity has traditionally been defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. The BMI is a ratio of your weight to height that is not affected by age, gender or race. It is important to recognize and treat obesity because having it can put people at risk for many other chronic illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system, some types of cancer, depression, arthritis, disordered breathing, deconditioning and gastrointestinal disorders.
Maintaining a well-balanced and nutritious diet is vital not just for your general health but can reduce the risk of developing diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Today, a healthy diet encompasses a wide range of options and includes whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, fish and even plant oils such as olive oil. Add in ethnic, religious, cultural and personal preferences and there are more options than ever before when planning healthy meals and snacks.
Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement that helps us describe whether a person is underweight, has a healthy weight, is overweight and is also used in the diagnosis of obesity. To be exact, BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight (in kilograms) by the square of their height (in meters). BMI is not a direct measure of someone’s body fat. Rather, it measures the body weight relative to their height. This does give health care professionals a quick, easy and accurate enough indication of body fat and can predict certain diseases.