What is Obesity?
Obesity is a complex, multifactorial condition in which the excess energy consumed in foods and stored in mammalian adipose (fat) tissues exceeds what is compatible with healthy limits, putting an individual’s health at risk. As a metabolic disease, obesity has reached the level of a global epidemic, currently classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the largest global chronic health problem facing adults.
Obesity is classified using body mass index (BMI), calculated using the formula:
Since 1975, global obesity has almost tripled. In 2016, almost 2 billion adults – 39% of adults world-wide – were overweight. Of these over 650 million (13% of all adults) were obese. Globally, 41 million children under the age of 5 and over 340 million children aged 5 to 18 years were overweight or obese. In Australia, 63% of adults are overweight or obese, and 27.5% are obese; approximately 250,000 adults currently have a BMI more than 40 kg/m2.
Obesity is a gateway to ill health, and has become a leading cause of disability, poor quality of life, and death, affecting not only adults but also children and adolescents worldwide.