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Paging Dr. Brent: Lose Those Love Handles

This year, we learned that two-thirds of us are officially overweight or obese, meaning that we have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25. Then came the even more troubling news that our children are growing bigger, too. At the rate we're all going, by 2015, 75 percent of adults in the United States will be overweight and more than 40 percent of those will be obese. As a result, we'll see more people suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, indigestion, gallstones, breast cancer, sleep apnea, stress, depression, and anxiety -- all of which are associated with obesity. We will see more people dying at younger ages.

How could such a serious health problem arise? One reason is that many of us don't think of ourselves as part of the problem. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that obese men and women are much less likely than people of healthy weights to be clear about what weight levels are considered obese. If obese adults (those with a BMI greater than 30) don't realize it, they're less likely to heed public health messages or seek medical attention that can help.

Calculate your BMI with this tool, and then let your doctor know what you find out.

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