By the mid 19th century, being excessively overweight, or obese, was recognized as a cause of ill health, and another century later, declared deadly.
What is the distinction between being overweight and being obese?
A calculation called the BMI breaks it down for us.
For example, if someone weighs 65 kilgorams and is 1.5 meters tall, they have a BMI of about 29.
Obesity is a condition of excess body fat that occurs when a person’s BMI is above 30, just over the overweight range of 25 to 29.9.
While BMI can be a helpful estimate of healthy weight, actual body fat percentage can only really be determined by also considering information like waist circumference and muscle mass.
Athletes, for instance, have a naturally higher BMI.
So how does a person become obese? At its most basic, obesity is caused by energy imbalance.
If the energy input from calories is greater than the energy output from physical activity, the body stores the extra calories as fat.
In most cases, this imbalance comes from a combination of circumstances and choices.