Obesity: Body Fat, the Silent Killer (cont.)

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.

What is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) refers to a wide spectrum of liver diseases ranging from the most common, fatty liver (accumulation of fat in the liver, also known as steatosis), to Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH, fat in the liver causing liver inflammation), to cirrhosis (irreversible, advanced scarring of the liver as a result of chronic inflammation of the liver). All of the stages of Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are now believed to be due to insulin resistance, a condition closely associated with obesity. In fact, the BMI correlates with the degree of liver damage, that is, the greater the BMI the greater the liver damage.

The term Nonalcoholic is used because liver disease due to alcohol can show the same spectrum of liver disease as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; however, patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol.