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Definition Of Obesity


The English word ‘Obesity’ derives from the Latin Obesus meaning ‘fat’ or ‘plump’. The first English use of the word was made in 1651 in Noah Bigg’s medical book Mataeotechnia Medicinae Praxeos.

In medical studies, obesity is defined as a person having more than 20 per cent of ideal weight. Ideal weight takes into account height, age, sex and build of a person. According to National Health Institute, USA, the Body Mass Index of a person is the key factor to define obesity. As per NHI standard, a person with 30 pounds of more fat content in his or her body is considered obese.

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a health indicator of the diseases associated with obese men and women. These health factors include “silent-killers” such as: diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Many obese individuals do not even realize they have one or more of these diseases.

By waist measurement and BMI, body fat can be measured. Obesity is defined as a waistline of 35 inches or higher for woman and for men a waistline of 40 inches or higher. The BMI formula calculates body weight and height.  The formula works by dividing an individual’s weight (Kg) by their height (meters squared). It can also be worked out by multiplying weight in pounds by 703, and dividing height in inches. Again a division is necessary by height (inches).

Obesity can also be defined as a BMI of 30 pounds over a person considered normal weight. Weight standards are calculated according to a person’s height. Excessive obesity is defined as a BMI of 40 or higher. There is another way of defining obesity. It is overweight, with a BMI of 25 to less than 30. A person’s BMI of about 25 kg/m (squared) corresponds to about 10 per cent over a normal weight.

Broadly speaking, obesity can be defined as a body’s extra fat that is stored in tissues as a result of excessive consumption of caloric food, which is not compatible with the routine manual labor undertaken. Simply put, what a person takes in they must put out. This involves the physical act of eating in comparison with the level of physical movement.

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