ROBERT KUSHNER, MD: Well, there it's about 1 in 10 or 10 percent. The troubling factor there is that they are following in our oversized footsteps. An overweight or obese child is more likely to be an obese adult. So we are unfortunately looking at an epidemic among our children as they become adults, and are likely to be more obese than we are today.
VAREN BLACK: Why has the number of heavy people increased?
ROBERT KUSHNER, MD: That's still debatable, and a lot of research is looking into that. But most of us think that
it's due to our society and culture. We really live in an obesogenic society where food is plentiful, physical inactivity is everywhere.Those two combined leads to gaining weight.
VAREN BLACK: How is obesity defined?
ROBERT KUSHNER, MD: We currently define obesity by using a term called the body mass index, also known as the BMI.
Of course, everyone knows their cholesterol and everyone knows their blood pressure. It's equally important that everyone knows their BMI. It's a weight for height relationship that's fairly easily calculated on tables. A BMI between 25 and 30 is defined as overweight. A BMI of 30 or more is obese.
Roughly speaking, about 30 or more pounds overweight already defines one as obese.
VAREN BLACK: Just 30 pounds?
ROBERT KUSHNER, MD: Just 30 pounds. It doesn't take much to have the health complications that are associated with obesity.
VAREN BLACK: Talk about those complications, the health effects of obesity.