The terms "overweight" and "obesity" refer to body weight that’s greater than what is considered healthy for a certain height.
The most useful measure of overweight and obesity is body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated from your height and weight. For more information about BMI, go to "How Are Overweight and Obesity Diagnosed?"
Millions of Americans and people worldwide are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for many health problems. The more body fat that you have and the more you weigh, the more likely you are to develop:
Your weight is the result of many factors. These factors include environment, family history and genetics, metabolism (the way your body changes food and oxygen into energy), behavior or habits, and more.
You can't change some factors, such as family history. However, you can change other factors, such as your lifestyle habits.
For example, follow a healthy eating plan and keep your calorie needs in mind. Be physically active and try to limit the amount of time that you're inactive.
Weight-loss medicines and surgery also are options for some people if lifestyle changes aren't enough.
Reaching and staying at a healthy weight is a long-term challenge for people who are overweight or obese. But it also is a chance to lower your risk for other serious health problems. With the right treatment and motivation, it's possible to lose weight and lower your long-term disease risk.
Obesity happens one pound at a time. So does prevention.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Overweight and Obesity, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
March 12, 2013
Benefits of quitting smoking outpace risk of modest weight gain
The improvement in cardiovascular health that results from quitting smoking far outweighs the limited risks to cardiovascular health from the modest amount of weight gained after quitting, reports a National Institutes of Health-funded community study. The study found that former smokers without diabetes had about half as much risk of developing cardiovascular disease as current smokers, and this risk level did not change when post-cessation weight gain was accounted for in the analysis.
The HBO Documentary Film series The Weight of the Nation for Kids will air in May 2013. The family-friendly film series highlights young people actively improving the health of both themselves and their communities. Watch the series to learn how kids are working to make a difference in their schools and communities. The films stream free on the HBO website.
To learn more about the film series and related public awareness campaign, including how to host a local screening go to www.nih.gov/health/
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.