Obesity is a common, debilitating, but preventable disease.

Being obese, or having too much body fat, is an increasingly common condition in the United States. More than just a cosmetic concern, people with obesity are especially likely to have weight-related health problems, such as an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. A person is considered obese if they weigh 20% more than their ideal weight. A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher also confirms obesity. There are many reasons why a person might be obese, from genetics to hormonal factors to behavioral influences; but unhealthy eating habits, age and medications can also contribute to obesity.

The good news is, losing even some weight can make a big difference to your health and how you feel.

If your BMI indicates you are in the obese range, a general physical exam and review of your health history with your physician is recommended. Depending on the cause of your obesity and any health issues you’re experiencing as a result, your doctor may prescribe changes in diet, exercise, counseling and medications. In extreme cases, weight loss surgery may be advised. Learning about obesity, setting realistic goals, establishing a support system and avoiding certain food triggers can all help you lose weight.

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