Obesity and Health

Authored by: James M. Rippe , Theodore J. Angelopoulos

Lifestyle Medicine

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  March  2013

Print ISBN: 9781439845424
eBook ISBN: 9781315099248
Adobe ISBN:


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The obesity epidemic represents an enormous global health problem affecting both developed and underdeveloped nations, both genders, and every ethnicity [14]. As discussed in other chapters in this section, and later in this chapter, obesity is typically defined utilizing body mass index (BMI) criteria. According to criteria from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, healthy weight range for adults is a BMI of 19–28.9 kg/m2 and obesity is a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2. By any criteria, obesity has reached worldwide epidemic proportions. In the United States, for example, the prevalence of obesity is currently 32.2% in adult men and 35.5% in adult women [5]. In European countries, obesity ranges from 20% to 30% of the population and it is even higher in Polynesia, Australia, and South America [6]. The World Health Organization estimates that, if current trends continue, there will be 1.5 billion obese individuals worldwide by 2015 [6].

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