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Obesity affects about ¼ of all adults and 14% of children and adolescence. It has become the second leading cause of preventable death. The rate of obesity has been increasing steadily over the past decade. Being obese, puts someone at a greater risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

Being obese is when you have too much body fat. One formula that can be used to determine if you are obese is the Body Mass Index (BMI). A BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese. BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared.

There are many causes of obesity including: genetic, psychological and environmental factors. People may be genetically predisposed to obesity. It does tend to run in families, however this may be more a result of families sharing similar diet and lifestyle habits. Genetics alone probably does not cause obesity. Your lifestyle habits including diet and exercise make up environmental factors.

Psychological factors can also lead to obesity. Many people eat when they are bored, angry or upset. About 30 percent of people who seek help for weight loss, have binge eating problems. There are some other factors that can cause obesity. Some drugs and illnesses and even depression can lead to obesity in some cases.

The direct cost of obesity in the United States is said to be over 39 billion dollars. This cost is related to health and medical costs as a result of obesity. Additionally, Americans spend 38+ billions dollars a year in an effort to lose weight. People can buy diet foods and products. There are Atkins bars, other low carb or low fat food bars, diet shakes, etc. People spend money on diet pills and books about dieting. They pay for exercise machines that are “guaranteed” to result in a new lean body, etc. Not only does obesity cost a lot of money, it can also cost people their health or even their lives.

Obesity is a serious issue facing society. Part of the problem is that many people live more sedentary lives in this day and age. People spend time sitting in front of a computer for work. Children sit and play video games or watch television for entertainment.

Many families are now two income homes. Both husband and wife work, and everyone always seem to be on the run. People are eating more fast food. It is easy to stop at McDonald’s after you pick up the kids from school and before you drop them off at soccer practice. These foods are higher in fat and contributing to obesity not just among adults but also among children.

Everyone should take some time to evaluate his or her lifestyle. Parents must set a good example for their children. Try to prepare as many well balanced meals as you can. Do not make your children want to eat only fast foods and TV dinners. Encourage your kids to get away from the computer or video game and to go outside. If we can educate children, today, obesity may be less of a problem in the future.

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