Obesity research papers report that in 2000, figures showed that 50 percent of Americans were 20 percent or more above their ideal weight. Overweight people outnumber those who are at normal weight or below. An appropriate definition of obesity is based on a classification of individuals into percentiles as compared with others in their age group. This method includes anthropometric measurements such as height, weight, and body mass index (a ratio of height to weight). Persons are then classified as overweight and obese if they place in the 85th or 95th percentile, based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [NHANES] and a body composition test (body fat ratio). For some time now the percentage of children suffering from childhood obesity has been on the rise. The problem of obesity in the United States is not limited to children as we have seen sharp increases across the board in the last two decades. Today approximately 32% of American women of European heritage, 48% of African-American women, and 47% of Latino women are overweight. At the same time, approximately 32% of all adult males in the United States are overweight and up to 20% of all teenagers are overweight. For teenagers this is compared to 15% twenty years ago.
Empirical research shows that there is a link between obesity and physical fitness. Furthermore, a more sedentary lifestyle of computers and television serving as entertainment contribute to the lack of physical fitness. What is perhaps most unique about this link is the fact that lack of physical activity directly correlates to the onset of obesity, yet increasing physical activity and fitness after the onset of obesity does not always reduce weight. In many respects this dichotomy of obesity is what keeps medical science from finding a cure to this condition.