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            Obesity is being twenty percent over normal body weight. Many people think that being overweight is the same thing as being obese but, actually, overweight means being only five percent over normal body weight. Morbidly obese, though, is being one hundred pounds or more over normal body weight. Obesity, which is now considered a disease, has been the diagnosis of nearly one-third of adults in the U.S.
             Society has greatly influenced the rise of obesity as fast food has become startlingly popular. Today's lifestyle is one that is always on the go and the view of people today is that, if something is fast, it must be good. Fast food is cheap and, as the name suggests, fast it is considered one of the best choice for a quick meal. Yet, as many television commercials point out, the servings given in fast food are several times the needed amount for a nutritious meal. This trend has made the number of obese people in this country soar to epidemic proportions.
             Today's children have also been influenced by this development in eating habits. Approximately fifteen percent of children were overweight in 2000 but the levels have risen to an alarming seventeen percent in 2002. The overweight children generally grow into overweight adults, which is another way that obesity levels have risen. Children these days watch more television than any previous generation. Therefore, the exercising habits are poor, making their metabolism rates decrease and thereby increasing their body fat.
             Obesity can be a serious health risk and have many consequences such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and other breathing problems, osteoarthritis (degeneration of cartilage and bone of joints), and some forms of cancer (uterine, breast, colorectal, kidney, and gallbladder). Obesity can also be attributed to complications of pregnancy, high blood cholesterol, menstrual irregularities, stress incontinence (urine leakage caused by weak pelvic-floor muscles), hirsutism (presence of excess body and facial hair), increased surgical risk, and psychological disorders such as depression.

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