Obesity is more than just a matter of size - the scope of the condition can have long-term consequences for a person's health, particularly for young people.
Yet despite the risks of obesity - which include increased likelihood of developing hypertension, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure - many Americans remain in the dark about the connection between obesity and many other chronic health problems.
Calculating the risks of obesity
According to a recent poll conducted by The Associated Press-National Opinion Research Center for Public Affairs Research, many Americans are unaware of the far-reaching impact of obesity, NPR reported. The condition is characterized by a body mass index exceeding 30.
While more than seven in 10 Americans correctly linked obesity to heart disease and diabetes, only 7 percent of participants in the poll were aware of the connection between the condition and cancer.
About 15 percent noted that obesity can contribute to the development of arthritis, while only 5 percent knew that respiratory problems, including asthma and sleep apnea, can be the result of obesity.
Obesity and young people
Obesity can be harmful for men and women alike, but when young people are impacted by the condition, it can result in chronic health problems and poor dietary habits that are difficult to break later in life.
Over the last 30 years, the rates of obesity among young people between 12 to 19 years old increased from 5 to 18 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to health problems, young people who are obese may be more like to experience bullying. A study published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics found that 64 percent of kids engaged in weight loss programs had been teased or bullied as a result of their weight, HealthDay News reported.
Making positive changes
Getting in shape can be difficult, but young people who understand the challenges posed by obesity can better appreciate the benefits of leading an active lifestyle to reduce their weight.
Those in a college or university setting who are attempting to lose weight for the first time can explore a variety of college fitness solutions to find the best fit for their lifestyles. A personal trainer can help young people establish their goals within a healthy range and find the best commercial gym equipment to use in order to make their weight loss dreams a reality.