Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health.
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).
The WHO definition is:
- A BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight
- A BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.
BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults. However, it should be considered a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals.
Following a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent overweight and obesity. Many lifestyle habits begin during childhood. Thus, parents and families should encourage their children to make healthy choices, such as following a healthy diet and being physically active.
Make following a healthy lifestyle a family goal. For example:
- Follow a healthy eating plan. Make healthy food choices, keep your calorie needs and your family´s calorie needs in mind, and focus on the balance of energy IN and energy OUT.
- Focus on portion size. Watch the portion sizes in fast food and other restaurants. The portions served often are enough for two or three people. Children´s portion sizes should be smaller than those for adults. Cutting back on portion size will help you balance energy IN and energy OUT.
- Be active. Make personal and family time active. Find activities that everyone will enjoy. For example, go for a brisk walk, bike or rollerblade, or train together for a walk or run.
- Reduce screen time. Limit the use of TVs, computers, DVDs, and videogames because they limit time for physical activity. Health experts recommend 2 hours or less a day of screen time that´s not work- or homework-related.
Keep track of your weight, body mass index, and waist circumference. Also, keep track of your children´s growth.
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