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What Is Obesity?


Updated March 04, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.


Obesity refers to a person being excessively overweight. The clinical definition of obesity is having a body mass index of more than 30. The official definition of being overweight, in comparison, is having a body mass index of between 25 and 30.

Morbid obesity is the next category up from obesity, and includes people with a body mass index of 40, or a body weight which is 100 pounds or more overweight. Obesity carries serious health risks.

People with food and alcohol addictions are at particular risk for obesity. Other addictions that involve long periods of sedentary activity, such as video game addiction", or stimulate the desire to overeat, such as cannabis use, may also increase the risk for obesity.

Pronunciation: O-BEE-sit-EE
Also Known As: fat, very overweight
Common Misspellings: obeesity
Jen's obesity resulted from her overeating, and it led her to develop diabetes and depression.
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