Condition: An individual is considered obese if he or she weighs 20% or more than what is considered a normal weight for his or her height. (Body Mass Index)
Background: Obesity is a growing problem in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nearly 38% of U.S. adults were obese as of 2014. That is an increase of nearly 3% from two years earlier.
Risk Factors: If a person’s mother or father is obese, that person is at greater risk to become obese. However, obesity can also be a result of overeating or inactivity. Certain diseases and health conditions can contribute to obesity, such as hypothyroidism.
History and Symptoms: Common symptoms of obesity include excess body fat, joint pain, rashes in skin folds and sleep apnea.
Physical Exam: Physicians conduct a cardiac, pulmonary and abdominal exam, as well as check other general health measures.
Diagnostic Process: To determine if a patient is obese, a physician will check their body mass index (BMI) to see if it is 30 or higher. This is done by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. They may also check his/her waist-to-hip ratio, which also diagnoses obesity and is associated with increased risk of death.
Rehab Management: Patients should reduce their caloric intake while eating nutritious foods, and increase their exercise. Unless a patient is on a medically-supervised program, the lowest daily caloric intake recommended is 1,200 for women and 1,500 for men. Patients who are morbidly obese (usually defined as having a BMI of 40) may need to stay in a hospital.
Other Resources for Patients and Families: The CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity has many resources that can help families and caregivers.