Obesity is more than just a few extra pounds you have gained. It is a heavy accumulation of fat in your body which increases your risk for many diseases, such as, diabetes and heart disease that can not only damage your health but also knock off many years off your life. A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. The most common measure of obesity is the body mass index or BMI. 

The body mass index measurement, put simply, is the calculation of someone’s body weight in relation to their height. Using a chart or a calculator, you enter your weight and height details and are then told your current BMI measurement. You can also use this method to discover what your ideal weight should be for your height.

BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese

The fat may be equally distributed around the body or concentrated on the stomach (apple-shaped). If your body resembles the apple shape, you are at a greater risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease than people who are lean or have fat around the hips and thighs (pear-shaped). So, your waist size affects your risk for health conditions.

Obesity increases the risk of development of numerous diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, high blood pressure, impaired glucose tolerance, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Coronary artery disease, such as atherosclerosis could also develop. This is due to the excessive trans-fat and triglycerides from the food you eat. The excessive fat lodges in your coronary arteries blocking the main passage of blood from your circulatory system and into your heart. Your heart would tend to beat faster to compensate for the lack of blood flowing inside, and thus a higher blood pressure would manifest. Obesity also causes great concern for the possibility of developing sleep apnea, fertility problems, and some complications during pregnancy and delivery, liver problems, and the risk of cancer. Recent studies show that excessive fat in your body is carcinogenic. It promotes the development of proliferating cancerous cells that could cause damage to our organs. These are just a few of the risk factors of obesity.

According to  the report by UnitedHealth Group, headquartered in Minnetonka, Minn., more than half of all Americans may develop diabetes, or pre-diabetes, by 2020 unless prevention strategies aimed at weight-loss and increased physical activity are widely implemented.