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Obesity in children

One of the major topics that's almost never out of the news is obesity in children and in adults.

Did you know this is a disease that affects nearly one-third of the adult American population (approximately 60 million), and is on the increase world-wide.

Did you also know that the rise in obesity in children is due to 2 factors - lack of exercise and diets containing increased sugars, fats and processed foods. This is an issue that is only going to get worse. See the following stats for proof of how bad it's getting :

In the United Kingdom more than one in five men is now obese, a rise of two-thirds in a decade, and one in six boys under 15 is obese, a figure that has risen 60% in just nine years.

The problem is almost as serious for British women. Again more than one in five women (22.8%) are obese, a rise of nearly 40% since 1993, whereas 42% more girls, just under 17% in all, are obese compared with nine years ago.

Obesity world-wide has continued to increase since the early 1960's, and the trend is not slowing down. Today, 64.5 percent of adult Americans (about 127 million) are categorised as being overweight or obese, and although the figure is not as high in other countries there is a steady increase towards this figure.

Obesity is an excess of body fat frequently resulting in a significant impairment of health. Obesity results when the size or number of fat cells in a person's body increases. A normal-sized person has between 30 and 35 billion fat cells. When a person gains weight, these fat cells first increase in size and later in number. One pound of body fat represent about 3500 stored calories.

Obesity can be linked to a lack of physical activity and high calorie foods. Fast food is a major contributor. An individual can be considered obese if they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) >30, and extremely obese with a BMI >40. Click to find out more about Body Mass Index, use the BMI calculator and view the BMI chart.

Effects Of Obesity On Health

Obesity increases one's risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease and some cancers.

The predominance of various medical conditions increases with overweight and obesity for men and women as shown in the tables below.

Predominance of Medical Conditions by Body Mass Index (BMI) for Men

  BMI (%)
BMI (%) 25-29.9 BMI(%) 30-34.9 BMI(%) >40
Medical Condition Prevalence Ratio (%)
Diabetes 2.03 4.93 10.10 10.65
Coronary Heart Disease 8.84 9.60 16.01 13.95
High Blood Pressure 23.47 34.16 48.95 64.53
Osteoarthritis 2.59 4.55 4.66 10.04

Predominance of Medical Conditions by Body Mass Index (BMI) for Women

  BMI (%)
BMI (%) 25-29.9 BMI(%) 30-34.9 BMI(%) >40
Medical Condition Prevalence Ratio (%)
Diabetes 2.38 7.12 7.24 19.89
Coronary Heart Disease 6.87 11.13 12.56 19.22
High Blood Pressure 23.26 38.77 47.95 63.16
Osteoarthritis 5.22 8.51 9.94 17.19