DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE

Body Fat, the Silent Killer

Obesity Can Lead to Fatty Liver...a Silent Killer

Medical Author: Dennis Lee, MD
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD

Obesity is a major health problem worldwide. In the United States, roughly 300,000 deaths per year are related to obesity. Obesity also increases the risk of developing several chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, insulin resistance, coronary heart disease (responsible for heart attacks), cerebrovascular disease (responsible for strokes), high blood pressure, gout, gallstones, colon cancer, sleep apnea, and a form of liver disease called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Obesity is defined as an excess amount of body fat. The normal amount of body fat (expressed as a percentage of body weight) is between 25-30% in women and 18-23% in men. Women with over 30% body fat and men with over 25% body fat are considered obese. Another easier way of defining obesity is by calculating the body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a mathematical formula that takes into account both a person's weight and height in calculating the degree of obesity. In adults, normal weight is defined as a BMI between 20 and 25 BMI units, overweight from 25 to 30, obesity from 30 to 35, significant obesity from 35 to 40, morbid obesity from 40 to 45, super obesity from 45 to 50, and super-morbid obesity greater than 50. Eighty percent of deaths related to obesity occurs in obese individuals with a BMI greater than 30. To find out what your BMI is, please refer to the Body Mass Index (BMI) Table for Adults, and the Body Mass Index (BMI) Index Table for Teens.