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Obesity, defined as having a BMI of 30 or above, refers specifically to having too much body fat.It is extra body fat, not muscle, that increases the risk of serious health problems.“Over the last quarter-century, the age at which American girls begin menstruating has decreased by 2.5 months.” Carlton Gorton, a doctor in Belzoni, Miss., an area with higher-than-average rates of obesity, told Varney that “he has discovered girls as young as 5 and 6 years old who are developing pubic hair.These alarming signs of puberty are usually related to his patients’ ample body fat.” Some of these young patients, whom the doctor describes as “off the growth chart,” even come to him for monthly hormone shots that “hold them off from going through puberty.” Early puberty, meanwhile, leads to a host of dangerous issues.Teens may make bad food choices when they are upset, depressed, or anxious, turning to cookies, candy bars, and potato chips for comfort. Problems with your thyroid gland may result in weight gain, but this is not a common ailment.In addition, weight gain is one of the side effects of certain medications, like corticosteroids. Today, most experts believe that body mass index (BMI) gives a more accurate picture of health.And what's the difference between being "overweight" and "obese?
Studies show that many teens eat more high-fat foods and fewer foods with necessary nutrients (vitamin A, folic acid, fiber, iron, calcium, and zinc) than is recommended for optimal health.When your doctor says you are "overweight," you are at higher risk for serious illnesses, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.Overweight teens are also at higher risk of psychological problems, such as depression.These are sometimes used to treat asthma, allergies, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. BMI is defined as body weight in relation to height.Calculating BMI can be done in a doctor's office or with a BMI calculator, which is available at many online sites -- as long as you have your correct measurements.