What is obesity? Obesity is a common condition in which there is an excessive amount of body fat to a degree that puts a person at risk for serious chronic health problems, such as diabetes or hypertension. Obesity is a major health epidemic that affects all populations, regardless of gender or race, and it is becoming more common in children as well as adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 34% of the U.S. adult population is obese and 5.9% is extremely obese (Source: CDC). Obesity is caused by eating more calories than the body consumes (burns off) for energy over a period of time. Obesity is not necessarily the same thing as being overweight. Overweight is defined as weighing more than what is generally considered normal based on your height. However, being overweight can occasionally be caused by increased muscle size or water retention and does not always mean that someone is unhealthy. For example, some athletes may be considered overweight because of having developed muscles, which weigh more than fat, while still having a healthy level of body fat. Obesity can take a major toll on your physical health, affecting virtually every organ and body system, including the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems. The good news is that losing even 5% to 10% of your weight can delay or prevent obesity-related diseases. Obesity increases the risk for dangerous conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. Seek prompt medical care if you experience weight gain. Following a medically recommended weight loss plan can help you reduce the risk of serious diseases associated with obesity.