Healthy Lifestyles and Health Care Research PaTH Cohort

Overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems (1).


How is obesity assessed?
In adults, body weight is typically assessed using the body mass index (BMI = kg/m^2), a measure of weight adjusted for height. In most people, BMI correlates with the amount of body fat present. An adult with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered to be obese. In children and adolescents, the cut-points for obesity change with age, and are different for boys and girls (1). A BMI calculator can be used to assess body weight in youth (2). The CDC, who provides this calculator, notes that it is not meant to serve as a source of clinical guidance and is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice.

What can you do?
If your weight is higher than is healthy, it may be time to change your eating and physical activity choices. Keeping track of your eating and physical activity is one of the best ways to make lasting changes towards regular healthier choices. The resources listed below give lots of other ideas. If you have not been active, be sure to talk with your doctor before increasing your physical activity – and keep in mind that if you are having difficulty losing weight, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor about this as well.

Support – Where can patients find info about support groups or local resources?
General resources:

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Aim for a Healthy Weight
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Portion Distortion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Strategies to Combat Obesity Weight Management & Calories Kids’ Place
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How much physical activity do you need?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Adding Physical Activity to Your Life

JHU Resources
Baltimarket – Access to Healthy Foods
Baltimore County and Baltimore City Health Department: Community Resource Directory 2014
Johns Hopkins Health System: Employees Innergy Weight Management Program
Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks

UPMC and University of Pittsburgh Resources
Farmers Markets
Bike Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
UPMC BodyChangers

PSU Resources
Penn State Hershey PRO Wellness Center
Farmers Market in Hershey
Penn State Hershey University Fitness Center
Hershey Community Garden

Temple Resources
Philadelphia Farmers’ Markets
Philadbundance “Fresh for All Program”
Fresh Start to a Healthy Weight
YMCA’s DPP Programs at Philadelphia
Y’s Philadelphia Parks and Recreation

Geisinger Resources
YMCA: Bloomsburg | Greater Susquehanna Valley
Wilkes-Barre Farmer’s Market
Ferry Street Grower’s market
Lewisburg Farmer’s Market

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Defining Overweight and Obesity. Atlanta, GA; 2014 [updated 2014; cited 2014 6/17/14]
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BMI Percentile Calculator for Child and Teen, English Version. Atlanta, GA; 2014 [updated 2014; cited 6/17/14]

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