Definition of Clinical Obesity

Definition of Clinical Obesity
To fully understand obesity as a whole, we must first examine it's origin and work our way through proper medical facts and terms. In my recent online 'obesity' definition search, I came across the Merriam Webster Dictionary site where 'obesity' is simply defined as such:

“ a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body.”

According to the online Merriam Webster Dictionary site, we can conclude that 'obesity' is considered to be a “condition.” But what constitutes 'excessive accumulation' in regard to body fat? Unsatisfied with their 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 a BMI reading of 30 and above. But what is "BMI" and how is it calculated?

BMI, or '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 general idea of your body fat mass. The BMI chart, however, does not measure actual body fat.

A 'Skin Fold' test will need to be performed to find out your accurate body fat percentage. This type of body fat test is most commonly performed by a fitness or health professional by use of a skin caliper tool which measures pinches of fat 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. My BMI was calculated with the skin caliper method before I lost a significant amount of weight; my BMI was calculated to be at 41, and my body fat percentage was an embarrassing (and alarming) 50% body fat.

Height plays a significant factor in determining your BMI numbers. My 5 foot 2 inch frame carried around almost 260 pounds of weight, 50% of which was fat. My height (or lack-there-of) played a significant roll in my obesity being clinical in numbers. 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 40%.

Don't allow yourself to 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. Confront the numbers, calculations, percentages, and medical labels that are placed on you and make them work to your advantage. We must commit to a healthier lifestyle, and have daily support and encouragement in order to be successful with shedding our 'obese' diagnosis for life.

This will take time, hard work, long/short-term goal setting, and dedication/determination. But you can do it! If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with clinical obesity, please realize that it does not define them as human beings! We are all worthy of love and respect, and we have the strength, ability, and power to get ourselves healthy.

The actual process of weight loss may seem to take much longer for an obese individual then it take others, and is an easy deterrent from accomplishing weight loss and optimal health. but with the right guidance and support, you can make remarkable improvements in your health. Little steps will reward you with big changes. Just understand that changes will not occur overnight. Stay positive and gravitate toward positive/motivated people who love you for who you are, and who are willing to be supportive of your efforts, no matter what.

Some of us may medically have a “Clinically Obese” label, but clinical obesity does not define us! Educate yourself about obesity and get started with a plan to improve your health today.

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