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Obesity refers to an increase in total body fat. The easiest and most widely accepted method of determining whether you are obese is by measuring your Body Mass Index, or BMI. To calculate your BMI, follow these steps:
1. Multiply your weight in pounds by 705; divide by your height in inches; divide this number by your height in inches a second time.
2. You may also use an online BMI calculator at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Obesity has become an epidemic in the U.S. and other developed countries. As many as one-third of all Americans are obese based on the BMI criteria. In addition to body image issues, obesity causes significant health issues. It is the second leading cause of preventable death (after smoking), and is associated with type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, arthritis, gallstones, and certain types of cancer.