As of 2017, more than 40% of adult Americans qualified as obese, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rates of obesity have also been increasing among children and adolescents in the US. Obesity is a medical term defined by a body-mass index (BMI) over 30. You can calculate your own BMI through the CDC’s website (www.cdc.gov).
Obesity can increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, osteoarthritis, and various forms of cancer. It is estimated that obesity leads to several hundred thousand deaths in the US every year. Strategies used to deal with obesity include diet modification and counseling, and exercise. Under certain circumstances, prescription medications may also be considered. For some people with severe obesity who do not respond to other weight-loss measures, bariatric surgery may also be a consideration. Most people benefit from medical supervision and assistance when they try to lose a significant amount of weight.
There is no consensus as to the best diet for weight loss; in fact, there are many competing claims and opinions on diet and the use of dietary supplements, which can complicate dietary planning. The federal National Institutes of Health (NIH) publishes helpful information on diet and nutrition myths through one of its websites (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/myths-nutrition-physical-activity).