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Your Environment. Your Health.

Obesity

Table of Contents

Introduction

Obese person with a burger in hand

Obesity

Millions of Americans and people worldwide are overweight or obese. Obesity is a complex health disorder that affects both adults and children. Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States. Obesity means having too much body fat. Obesity occurs over time when a person eats more calories than they can use.

Being obese puts people at risk for many health problems. The more body fat a person has and the more they weigh, the more likely they are to develop diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, breathing problems, and some cancers.

Gaining weight and becoming obese is the result of many factors. These factors can include your environment, family history and genetics, metabolism or the way your body changes food and oxygen into energy, behavior or habits, and more. Scientists are even beginning to explore the idea that some chemicals in the environment may be playing in the growing obesity problem.

The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent many of the health problems associated with obesity. Dietary changes, increased physical activity and behavior changes are all things that can help people lose weight.

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Further Reading

Stories from the Environmental Factor (NIEHS Newsletter)

Printable Fact Sheets

Additional Resources

Content courtesy of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)

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