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Epidemiology, Morbidity, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity

Louis J. Aronne, MD

Published: January 9, 2001

Article Abstract

Although still considered more of a cosmetic problem by both the general public and some areasof the medical community, overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions worldwide.Overweight and obesity have not only a significant psychological impact but also result in an increasedrisk for development of numerous chronic and sometimes fatal diseases. The morbidity fromobesity-associated disorders increases with higher body mass index and begins within the normalweight range. The costs (direct and indirect) associated with treating obesity and its comorbid conditionsare notable and increasing. Obesity rates in patients with schizophrenia are at least as high, if nothigher, than in the general population. This article reviews the epidemiology and burden of obesityand its associated comorbid disorders. The guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Instituteof the National Institutes of Health for diagnosing and treating obesity are also discussed.

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