Obesity is a condition in which a person has an excess of body fat than can negatively impact his or her health by increasing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer. If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater, most likely you are obese.
While genetics and hormones can impact someone’s weight, obesity generally develops if you take in more calories than you burn. The Mayo Clinic lists these causes and contributing factors for obesity:
- Unhealthy diet and eating habits
- Lack of sleep
- Certain medications
- Medical problems
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly 40% of African American men and 60% of African American women 20 years of age or older are obese. In addition, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Offices of Minority Health, African American women have the highest rates of obesity and being overweight compared to other groups.
In order to prevent and improve health problems linked to obesity, weight loss is important. This is achieved in part through changes to your diet and more physical activity. Medications or surgery could also be an option. It’s important to see a doctor if you think you are obese.
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The bulk of food consumption should consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products.