What Is Obesity?

Just what is obesity? Being obese is not the same as being fat, or even being overweight. It is possible to have fat stores on a person’s body and not be considered obese, although the technical definition of where obesity starts does vary depending on the specific scale of measurement in question. Even then sometimes, someone might be categorized as ‘obese’ by the numbers, but still be perfectly healthy because their ‘excess’ weight is actually muscle. This happens to professional athletes and bodybuilders a lot, and so causes confusion regarding what should be categorized as obese or obesity.

Obesity, even without clearly defined numerical thresholds, does generally mean that a person has too much fat in or own their body. Becoming obese is something that happens over a long period of time, so it is not like the dreaded Freshman 15 or the five pounds someone might gain on a week-long cruise ship vacation.

It is simply a rolling imbalance between calories taken in and the calories expended by a person’s body. Of course, as with anything health related, it is not simply a matter of these two numbers. Genetics play a part, as does various diagnoses of overeating. High-fat and high-calorie food choices never help, and physical inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle also contribute to the development of obesity.

Obesity is a serious health risk, and this is on top of the immediate consequences of less energy and fewer clothes to fit into. Obesity boosts the risk of conditions like arthritis, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It also makes certain cancers more likely.

Fortunately, it does not take much to turn this around, as losing just 5 percent of a person’s total body weight can reduce these risks, as well as provide a little energy and confidence to continue losing more.