More than one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past 20 years, the rate of obesity has increased steadily throughout the U.S. in all age ranges and remains high.
Obesity is a health concern because it increases the risk of many diseases, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), dyslipidemias (high cholesterol and/or high triglycerides), type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
Calculating a person's body mass index (BMI) can be useful for assessing their body fat. It is a screening tool for determining if someone has a weight problem. For adults, the following formula and classifications are used:
BMI = (Weight in pounds) / (height in inches squared) x 703
BMI < 18.5 Underweight
BMI 18.5-24.9 Normal weight
BMI 25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
BMI 30 and above Obese
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that healthcare practitioners screen all adult patients for obesity, and the American Academy of Family Physicians agrees. In 2012, the USPSTF published an updated recommendation that clinicians offer or refer obese patients to intensive behavioral interventions, which can lead to weight loss, possibly improving glucose tolerance and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. The Task Force is currently (2016) reviewing its recommendations.
Sources Used in Current Review
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Obesity in Adults: Screening and Management. Available online at https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/obesity-in-adults-screening-and-management. Accessed October 2016.
AAFP. Clinical Preventive Service Recommendation: Obesity. Available online at http://www.aafp.org/patient-care/clinical-recommendations/all/obesity.html. Accessed October 2016.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Obesity Facts. Available online at https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html. Accessed October 2016.