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overweight is an appearance issue. But being overweight is actually a medical concern because it can seriously affect a person’s health.

Defining Overweight

A couple of pounds of extra body fat are not a health risk for most people. But when people keep up a pattern of eating more calories than they burn, more and more fat builds up in their bodies.

As you’ve probably heard, more people are overweight today than ever before. The “obesity epidemic” affects kids and teens as well as adults. So younger people are now getting health problems that used to affect only adults, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

Why Do People Become Overweight?

People are gaining weight because of unhealthy food choices and family habits like eating in front of the TV instead of around a table).

High-calorie, low-nutrient snacks and beverages, bigger portions of food, and less-active lifestyles are all contributing to the obesity epidemic.

people turn to food for emotional reasons, such as when they feel upset, anxious, sad, stressed out, or even bored. When this happens, they often eat more than they need.

Measuring Weight

Doctors and other health care professionals use a measurement called body mass index (BMI) to tell if someone is overweight.

The doctor calculates BMI using a person’s height and weight, and then plots that number on a chart. There are different charts for girls or guys. BMI estimates how much body fat the person has.

Because muscle weighs more than fat, a muscular person can have a high BMI, but not too much body fat. Likewise, it’s possible for someone to have a low or ideal BMI but still have too much body fat.

You may get a BMI report from school, but the best way to understand BMI is to talk to your doctor.

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