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Defining Clinical Obesity
To fully understand obesity as a whole, we must first start at the beginning of it's origin and work our way through to proper medical facts and terms. In my recent online obesity definition search, I came across the Merriam Webster Dictionary site. They have 'obesity' simply defined as such: “ a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body.” We can conclude that, according to the online Merriam Webster Dictionary site, Obesity is considered to be a “condition.”
But what constitutes 'excessive accumulation' in regard to body fat? Unsatisfied with that particular definition, I decided to dig further. I happen to personally believe, as do many others, that obesity is a disease and not just necessarily a 'condition' as defined in many dictionaries.
The official medical definition of obesity, also taken from the online version of Merriam Webster Dictionary, is as follows: “A condition that is characterized by excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body and that in an adult is typically indicated by a body mass index of 30 or greater.” Based on these two definitions of obesity, we can now conclude that obesity is a real condition defined by BMI, or 'body mass index.'
Body mass index is a chart that physicians often utilize to measure weight, height, and age to determine the amount of weight that your particular body frame carries. Although it's not entirely accurate, it will give your physician a good idea of your true body fat mass. The BMI chart, however, does not measure actual body fat.
You will need to have a skin fold test applied to find out your true body fat percentage. This type of body fat test is usually done by a professional with a tool called a skin caliper, which measures fat rolls in certain areas of the body. Once a person has been medically charted as having a body mass index of 30 or higher, they are then deemed medically 'clinically' obese. I recently had my BMI calculated and body fat percentage tested. My BMI is 41, and my body fat percentage is an embarrassing (and alarming) 50% body fat.
Your height plays a significant part in determining your BMI numbers. My 5 foot 2 inch frame carries around 225 pounds of weight, 50% of which is fat. My height (or lack-there-of) plays a large part in my obesity being clinical in numbers. Now, if I were a few inches taller, say 5 foot 7 inches, my BMI would drop down to 35.2. This number would still keep me in the obese category, but my fat would be distributed more evenly throughout my body. Because of that, my skin-fold caliper test would probably be less then 50%. Now, what's my point with this since we cannot change our height?
My point is this: don't get too caught up in numbers, calculations, percentages, and pounds! While it's great to have a baseline, don't let it define you! You are not a number, a fat percentage, or a medical calculation! That being said, obesity is a serious health condition that must not be taken lightly. We must confront these numbers, calculations, percentages, as well as the medical labels that are placed on us, and we must make them work to our advantage. We must commit to a healthier lifestyle, and have daily support and encouragement in order to be successful for life.
This will take time and a lot of hard work. But you can do it! We can do it! If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with clinical obesity, please realize that you are special, it does not define you, and you do have the ability to get your self healthy. It may take much longer then it seems to take others, but with the right guidance and support you can make a remarkable improvement in your health. Keep visiting us here at BellaOnline's 'Obesity' site for continuing support and inspiration.
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