What is Obesity?

Obesity is the state of being seriously overweight (overweight is when you have too much body fat) – to a degree that affects your health.

Obesity in childhood is linked to many health complications. If a child is obese and has obese parents, there is a high likelihood that the child will be obese as an adult. It is so because kids tend to share eating lifestyle habits with parents. Note that this is not always the case.

If more than 25% of a person’s total body weight is fat, then they are classified as being obese. For a woman, it is more than 32% because women have a different body shape.

How do you know if you are obese?
  • Kids are checked against the average height and weight for kids of their age. So if a kid’s weight is a lot more than the average for their height, it could be that the child is obese.
  • Another check is the BMI check. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. It is defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his height in meters (kg/m2).
  • Also, there is a skin fold’ or ‘pinch’ test. A health professional can measure the thickness of flesh over the triceps muscle (the underside of the arm above the elbow) and the back of the body. It is best if a doctor or other health professional does this, as they know how to do it.

In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.


In many cultures, it is not nice to make a comment on someone’s body. It is always good to respect other people, no matter how fat or thin they are. But you can always help them and talk to them about their weight once they tell you about it first.


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