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In modern society obesity has become a growing concern for the health care practitioner. The most recent data from the American National Center for Health Statistics show an increasing trend, that 30% of U.S adults from 20 years of age and older suffer from obesity. That`s over 60 million people!
What`s even more alarming is that this increasing trend is not limited to adults, the percentage of children who are deemed as overweight has tripled since 1980, where now 16% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are classed as overweight. This trend in the increase of the number of people who are overweight and/or obese raises great concern for the health and well being of modern society and is on the verge of becoming an epidemic.
As stated previously a high percentage body fat can increase the risk of serious health problems such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, depression, hyperlipidemia & heart disease, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems, and even some cancers. The evaluation of percentage body fat on a habitual basis (as part of an annual medical) may be a vital tool to help minimize the risk of such complications.
The evaluation of percentage body fat can be used as a guide as to what may lie ahead for those on the higher percentage body fat scales.
A recent study entitled "The Influence of Excess Adiposity on Exercise Fitness and Performance in Overweight Children and Adolescents" hypothesized that the increased metabolic cost of having to move a greater mass, was the primary factor limiting overweight adolescents when they undertake sustained exercise, and also that the effect of diminished cardio respiratory reserve would be smaller but still important and warranted further study.
The study shows that even as a child or an adolescent increased body fat percentage is having a direct effect on human function which can only diminish with time if not rectified.
Through body fat evaluation the health care practitioner can more readily prescribe suitable measures for the individual to obtain an optimum level percentage body fat, whether it be to counter act an elevated body fat percentage or merely to maintain ones current levels. However the evaluation of percentage body fat is not limited to those who are overweight or suffering from obesity, it is an essential part of the process when treating patients with Anorexia Nervosa.