The term overweight is generally used to indicate that a human (or other mamal) has more body fat than is considered useful for the optimal functioning of the body. Being overweight is a fairly common condition for many people, especially those in developed nations where food supplies are plentiful and lifestyles often do not involve a lot of activities that generate caloric expenditure. Recent studies have indicated that as much as 64% of the adult US population is overweight, and this number is increasing.

You may very well not be overweight! Society across the Western World is obsessed with being overweight. There is a marked prevalence for women to perceive themselves as being “fat”. (15% less men than women generally consider themselves as being overweight.) Fat tissue is a vital component of the human body.

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It stores energy, provides thermal insulation and forms a protective layer against damage or impact. The media is constantly driving the “You are fat!!” message across our television screens, computer screens, newspapers and radio programs. Hardly a day goes by without a “lose weight/you are overweight/diet now” message being rammed down our throats. Dieting is a multi million dollar industry.

Obesity is defined as excessive body fat usually measured as 30 pounds or more over ideal body weight or a Body Mass Index of 30 or more. Another obesity definition is being 20% over your ideal body weight. These are inherently nebulous statements as each one of us is genetically different and our body structures vary. In excess of 20% of Americans exceed their ideal body weight and by this definition are obese! Prejudice, bias and peer pressure contribute to the misunderstanding of obesity.