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Obesity can be simply defined as having too much body fat. Body fat can be measured by body mass index, or BMI, which uses a formula that factors a person's weight to height ratio.

  • Normal weight = BMI between 18.5 and 24.9
  • Overweight = BMI between 25.0 and 29.9
  • Obese = BMI 30.0 and above

Over a period of time, if someone eats more calories than they use, they run the risk of becoming obese. Though the optimal balance between calories in and calories out differs for each person, the factors that contribute to weight gain are often the same, including:

  • Diet
  • Activity level
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle

When a person consumes more calories from food and drink than they use through physical activity, their body stores the excess calories as fat. A few extra pounds may not seem significant, but in the long run, too much fat can increase a person's chances of having serious health problems, including coronary artery disease, or CAD.

The good news is that if an adult is obese, losing a relatively small percentage of their body weight -- as little as five to 10 percent -- can potentially delay or prevent some of these consequences.