Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Leslie R. S. Elrod
The United States is now the fattest country in the world. In July 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 60 percent of U.S. adults and 25 percent of children were overweight or obese, making obesity one of the major health challenges facing the nation. From a medical perspective, those individuals likely to experience health problems as a direct result of excess weight are considered overweight. Obese is the term for individuals who are overweight to the point that their lives will be cut short as a direct result of excessive fat, whereas morbidly obese is reserved for those more than 100 pounds overweight or whose body mass index (BMI), a measure of height and weight, exceeds 40. Over the past several decades, cultural eating patterns changed such that more Americans dine outside of the home more frequently, eating foods containing significantly higher calories, ...