Obesity is an abnormal increase in the amount of fat
cells in the body compared to the amount of other types
of cells. In obesity, most of the fat cells build up in the
internal organs around the stomach area and in
connective tissue beneath the skin. Obesity may be due
to external causes such as eating too much and/or not
exercising enough. However, obesity can also be due to
causes from inside the person's body such as slow
metabolism (a chemical process in the body by which
food is broken down and changed to energy). There can
also be a combination of internal and external causes
that contributes to obesity.
Someone who is suffering from obesity is called obese (very overweight or very heavy).
Technically, from a medical standpoint, someone is considered to be obese if the actual
body weight is 20% more than the desired body weight for the person's age, height, sex,
and body build. So, for example, a person can be considered obese if the desired weight
is 200 pounds according to age, height, sex, and body build, but weighs 240 pounds
instead. The average person's body is made up of 25% fat. A medically defined obese
person may have a body that consists of 50% fat. Check with your doctor before
applying these guidelines to yourself and calling yourself obese. A doctor specializing in
bariatrics (causes, prevention, control, and treatment of obesity) may be needed.
Obesity comes from the Latin word "obesus" meaning "swollen."