Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Obesity: Prevention and Treatment
Kathryn E. Henderson & Kelly D. Brownell
Obesity is a condition characterized by elevated fat mass. It is typically estimated by the body mass index (BMI; kg/m 2 ), which is highly correlated with measures of body fat. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the desirable range as a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, overweight as a BMI of 25 to 29.9, obese as a BMI of 30 or greater, and morbidly obese as a BMI of 40 or greater. These categories have been established to reflect physical health risks associated with increasing BMI. Obesity increases risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, respiratory disease, some kinds of cancer, and more. Risk is determined in part by the distribution of fat on the body, with intraabdominal adiposity putting individuals at greatest risk. Risk for increased mental health difficulties does not appear to increase with BMI. As a group, the obese do not experience greater psychiatric ...