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Obesity and Weight Loss - Nutrition and Exercise

Statistics show that nearly 65% of adults in US are overweight, 31% of those obese. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that being overweight is one of the top 10 risk conditions in the world - the top 5 in developed countries. Obesity increases the risk for type II diabetes, heart attacks, stroke and some cancers.

Overweight is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 25, while obesity is defined as having a BMI of over 30. BMI is calculated by taking a persons weight in kilograms and dividing by their height in meters squared (kg/m2).

Weight gain and obesity are caused by both biological and environmental factors. The environmental factors include the overconsumption of food due to its increased availability, lower prices, high calorie density and good taste. In addition the trend towards a less active lifestyle results in the reduction of energy expenditure.


Leptin was discovered in 1994 and is produced by fat cells. Decreased levels of leptin results in obesity in only a small percent of human obesity cases. For these people treatment with leptin is successful. However, most obese people already have higher than normal leptin levels but are resistant to its effects. No one knows why yet, but it may be that the main role of leptin is to protect against weight loss when food is scarce.

Medication for Obesity

The best way to lose weight is to eat healthy foods and to exercise properly. Many medications are also available however.

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