Reducing Obesity Coalition
Home Learn
What is Obesity?

Today, an estimated 34% of Americans are obese. The state of Indiana is ranked the 17th most obese state and 30% of St. Joseph County residents are obese.

Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. Obesity is also known to put individuals at an increased risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancer.

Obesity,  defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30, refers specifically to having an abnormally high proportion of body fat.

Overweight,  defined as a BMI over 25 but less than 30, refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. This excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, or body water.

What Causes Obesity?

There are a variety of factors that contribute to overweight and obesity. Behavior,  what a person eats and his or her activity level, environment, the world around us and our access to healthy foods and places for physical activity, and genes, our genetic "blueprint", all may have an impact on overweight and obesity.

Weight is essentially a balance of energy between calories in and calories out. For example, if an individual consumes more calories then they use up, they gain weight.

For more information, please visit:

Weight-Control Information Network, HHS

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

The Health Consequences of Obesity, CDC

The Economic Costs of Obesity, CDC