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A super-sized struggle

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The terms overweight and obese are defined by body mass index (BMI). A BMI of 25 is considered overweight while a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. To calculate your BMI, visit nhlbisupport.com/bmi.

As of 2004, more than 65 percent of Americans were overweight, and of those, 33 percent were obese, according to a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes is the most common chronic disease associated with obesity.

The terms overweight and obese are defined by body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI of 25 is considered overweight while a BMI of 30 is considered obese.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2002 the average American female stood 5-foot-4-inches and weighed 164.3 pounds. This translates to a BMI of 28.2. At the same time, the average American male was 5-foot-9.5-inches and weighed 191 pounds, a BMI of 27.8. Both BMIs are considered overweight.

People are teaching their pets unhealthy habits, too. “It is quite interesting that our domestic cats are developing type 2 diabetes as they are fed a high-fat diet and exercising less just like their human counterparts,” says M.R. “Pete” Hayden, MD ’70, a member of MU’s Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Research Group. Hayden says that only humans, monkeys and cats develop type 2 diabetes spontaneously.

Exercise could be a “magic bullet” in treating the disease, Hayden says. “Like I always say, you really can walk away from type 2 diabetes.”

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