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These different classifications are determined by body mass index (BMI), or a measure of body fat based on your height and weight.To get a basic idea, this chart from the CDC approximates what that means for someone who is 5'9" tall.
In fact, it has grown in such vast proportions that the , or CDC, has begun to compile data and statistics on the disease.
There are many factors that are present when researching this growing problem.
While somewhat less sinister, added sugar can also wreak major damage on a diet.
Technically low in calories, high-quantities of sugar disrupts our metabolisms, causing surges in insulin and energy levels and ultimately contributing to weight gain and diabetes.
As for what is driving America's chronic weight problem, there are no definite answers. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the average American ate almost 20% more calories in the year 2000 than they did in 1983, thanks, in part, to a boom in meat consumption.
Scientific studies often reach conflicting conclusions, meaning many theories are out there, but the preponderance of evidence points to the two causes most people already suspect: too much food and too little exercise. Today, each American puts away an average of 195lbs of meat every year, compared to just 138lbs in the 1950's.
To understand the true size of the American obesity epidemic, we first need to understand what it really means to be overweight.
Generally, doctors and nutritionists classify people as either underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
A number of other factors are thought to play a role in the obesity epidemic, such as the in utero effects of smoking and excessive weight gain in pregnant mothers.
Poor sleep, stress, and lower rates of breastfeeding are also thought to contribute to a child's long term obesity risk.