More than 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

About 38 percent of those people are considered obese, the agency says.

Obesity raises a person’s risk for health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers.

Obesity is commonly measured by calculating body mass index (BMI), which factors a person’s height and weight.

But BMI is not a perfect indicator, the agency notes. Athletes often have lots of muscle mass, which weighs more than fat and may skew a BMI reading.

Before prescribing medicine or recommending surgery, doctors probably will want their patients to demonstrate healthy lifestyles that include better nutrition and increased exercise, the FDA says.

Source: HealthDay

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