The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obesity as an abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat that implies health risks. It has now reached epidemic proportions. Epidemiological data suggest that both the incidence and prevalence of overweight and obesity follow an increasing trend. In fact, by 2030 it is expected that one in five women and one in seven men will be obese, which is equivalent to more than 1,000 million people worldwide.
Traditionally, obesity has been defined based on a universal parameter: the Body Mass Index (BMI). It relates body weight (in kilograms) to the square of height (in meters). According to the BMI, and following the WHO criteria, overweight is defined when this indicator is equal to or greater than 25 kg/m2 and obesity when it is equal to or greater than 30 kg/m2.
Although BMI is a widely used parameter to classify body weight, it is not without its limitations. Among other things because it does not distinguish between muscle mass and lean mass (that is, the one that is not fat). In addition, the latter can also vary considerably between individuals of the same size.
Excerpted from California 18