Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: August 17, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959216 | Print ISBN: 9781412959209 | Online ISBN: 9781412959216| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Overweight and obesity have become key challenges for public health. Recent data show that 61% of adults in the Unites States are overweight (have a body mass index > 25, see the following definition) and 34% are obese (body mass index > 30, according to the Office of the Surgeon General, 2009). Canada and the United Kingdom show lower levels of obesity (about a quarter of adults are obese), but the long-term trend is similar and visible not only in developed but also developing countries: A growing number of children, youngsters, and adults are overweight. As a result of that trend, public communication on this issue has increased in the last years. Policymakers have coined the term obesity epidemic to label the associated challenge in a simple, illustrative, but at the same time also somewhat misleading way. This entry starts with an elaborated and precise definition of the key terms ...