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Obesity facts

  • Obesity means having excess body fat. For adults 35 and older, having a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese.
  • Obesity is not just a cosmetic consideration. It is a chronic medical disease that can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, gallstones, and other chronic illnesses.
  • Obesity is difficult to treat and has a high relapse rate. Most people who lose weight regain the weight within five years.
  • Even though medications and diets can help, the treatment of obesity cannot be a short-term "fix" but has to be a life-long commitment to proper diet habits, increased physical activity, and regular exercise.
  • The goal of treatment should be to achieve and maintain a "healthier weight," not necessarily an ideal weight.
  • Even a modest weight loss of 5%-10% of initial weight and the long-term maintenance of that weight loss can bring significant health benefits by lowering blood pressure and lowering the risks of diabetes and heart disease.
  • The chances of long-term successful weight loss are enhanced if the doctor works with a team of professionals, including dietitians, psychologists, and exercise professionals.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/15/2014

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Weight Gain, Obesity & Cancer Risk

Excess weight is a known risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Obesity can also be linked an increased risk for developing some cancers. To clarify the effects of weight gain on cancer risk, researchers in 2007 conducted an analysis of many studies reported in medical journals that describe 282,137 cases of cancer. The researchers wanted to see if weight gain had an effect on the risk for certain cancer types.