Obesity is the most common form of disturbed nutrition in the United States. BMI (Body Mass Index) correlates well with body fat and is, therefore a good predictor of chronic disease and mortality, except in highly trained athletes. Overweight is defined as BMI of 25.0-29.9; obesity is defined as BMI over 30. Overnutrition is caused from excessive calorie intake and/or inadequate activity. If a person has too high a BMI, he or she is at increased risk for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, orthopedic problems, gallstones, gout, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and some cancers like breast, colon and gallbladder. Medical Nutrition Therapy includes a multifaceted approach. Healthy meal planning, moderate physical activity, reduced focus on weight, improved self-esteem, a more positive body image and a strong support system are needed.
Underweight is defined as having a BMI below 18.5. Weight gain may be difficult for healthy individuals because of genetic tendency toward leanness, excessive activity or inadequate eating patterns. Medical Nutrition Therapy focuses on a high calorie high protein meal plan, including small snacks every 2-3 hours. Gradual weight gain is encouraged.