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September 2008 Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource Highlights Normal Weight Obesity, Regular Exercise and Cholesterol
Date:9/2/2008

Normal Weight Obesity: A Real Health Risk

ROCHESTER, Minn., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Here are highlights from the September issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource attribution is required. Reprinting is allowed for a fee. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Visit http://www.bookstore.mayoclinic.com or call toll-free for subscription information, 800-876-8633, extension 9751.

Normal weight obesity isn't an oxymoron.

"The definition of obesity is having excess fat, not excess weight," says Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., Mayo Clinic cardiologist, in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource.

Dr. Lopez-Jimenez was the lead researcher in a Mayo Clinic study that found more than half of Americans who are considered normal weight have high levels of body fat. Women with more than 30 percent body fat and men with more than 20 percent are considered obese, even if they have a normal body mass index.

Typically, obesity is determined by calculating body mass index (BMI) using height and weight. "This makes a lot of sense on the surface because people with excess weight for their height often are at high risk of health problems, but it doesn't tell the whole story," says Dr. Lopez-Jimenez.

The calculation of body fat determines how many pounds of body weight correspond to fat. The most common technique to measure body fat is bioimpedance, a method that uses an electrical current to look at body composition. These measurement devices are available at many fitness centers and some clinics.

The Mayo Clinic study, which looked at 2,127 people with normal BMI levels, found that those who had the highest body fat were at increased risk of high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat) a
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SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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