More than two-thirds of U.S. adults and almost one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Obesity is caused by several contributing factors, including poor diet, lack of physical activity, and environmental influences.

More than two-thirds of U.S. adults and almost one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Obesity is not a condition of personal choice. Individuals affected by obesity frequently struggle with not only the health and physical consequences of their disease but also with professional and social consequences including discrimination. Obesity is a major public health concern in the United States as it  is a contributing factor to many health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Overweight and obesity are defined as excessive fat accumulation that present a risk to health for adults and children.

Contributors to obesity in adults and children may include:

Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health throughout their lives. Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and sex. Today, more and more children are being diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension and other co-morbid conditions associated with obesity and severe obesity.

Obesity is defined as having excess body fat. Body Mass Index (BMI) can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems, but it is not diagnostic of the body fatness or health of an individual.  BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the body height.

To estimate your BMI, see the Adult BMI Calculator or determine BMI by finding your height and weight in this BMI Index Chart.

To estimate a child or teen’s Body Mass Index (BMI), type height and weight into the Child and Teen BMI Calculator

Following a healthy lifestyle may help to prevent obesity, as well as other health issues. Start building healthy habits now:

Talk with your healthcare provider about your daily habits, medical history and family medical history to determine the best ways for you to improve your health.



Asthma is a chronic condition that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing at night or early in the morning. If people with asthma are exposed to a “trigger” the symptoms can become more severe.

Asthma Triggers include:

Asthma cannot be cured. However, by eliminating asthma triggers and taking asthma medication, you may be able to reduce the frequency of your asthma attacks. Treatment varies from person to person, so it is important to work with your doctor to manage your asthma and create an asthma action plan. Learn how to recognize, reduce or eliminate common asthma triggers in your home.



Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. People of all ages, sexes and races can get arthritis, but it is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

While there is no sure way to prevent arthritis, you can help reduce your risk and delay the potential onset of certain types of arthritis.

Visit the Arthritis Foundation website for more information and the YMCA for local classes. You can also help manage your risk by participating in our free lifestyle programs:


There are many types of cancer. It can start in the lungs, breast, colon, or even in the blood. While cancers are alike in some ways, they are different in the ways they grow and spread. In the United States, the percentage of overweight and obese adults and children has increased over the past several decades. Studies show that with increased weight comes an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers.

Knowing the cancer history of your family is important to understanding your potential risk for cancer so you can take charge of your health.

The signs and symptoms of cancer depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects the organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread (metastasized), signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body. Just as the signs and symptoms can vary, the treatment options for everyone will vary as well.
The good news is many cancer deaths can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices like:

You can manage your risk by participating in our free lifestyle programs: