In contrast to anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, obesity is classified not as a psychiatric disorder but as a medical disorder. Obesity is an excessive accumulation of body fat and operationally is defined as overweight. The BMI, defined as weight (kg)/height (m2), has the highest correlation, 0.8, with body fat measured by other, more precise laboratory methods. Mild overweight is defined as a BMI of 25–30 or body weight between the upper limit of normal and 20% above that limit on standard height–weight charts. Obesity is defined as a BMI greater than 30 or body weight greater than 20% above the upper limit for height (Bray 1978; see Figure 23–1).

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FIGURE 23–1. Body mass index values used to assess weight for adults.Source. Reprinted from An Invitation to Health (with ThomsonNOW(T) and InfoTrac(R) 1-Semester Printed Access Card), 12th Edition, by Hales, Dianne. 2007. Used with permission of Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning: www.thomsonrights.com. Fax 800-730-2215.
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TABLE 23–12. Medical complications of obesity


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