The Public Health Importance of Identifying Excess Body Fat

Andy Peloquin

Personal Training


The Public Health Importance of Identifying Excess Body Fat - Fitness, fitness, visceral fat, obesity, metabolic syndrome, Trending, insulin sensitivity


It was recently estimated that between 62 and 76% of the world’s population has reached body fat levels that can impair health. This condition, which can now be labeled a pandemic, was described by the catch-all term overfat. It is well-recognized that the overweight and obese conditions represent a continuing threat to world health. Global rates of these conditions in adults and children (including adolescents) have risen significantly over the past roughly 40 years, paralleling significant increases in the numbers classified as being overweight and obese, and considerably affecting people of all ages and incomes in both developed and developing countries



Roughly 5% of U.S. adults are considered extremely obese. Pretty scary, right?

Here's an even more terrifying statistic: as many as 90% of men in this country are overfat. That means just 10% are healthy. How the heck is that possible? How did we get from 70% obesity rates to 90% overfat? Quite the stretch, right?


Well, an article published in Frontiers in Public Health found that being overfat is more common in developed countries, including the U.S., UK, New Zealand, and even Greece and Iceland. In these countries, the rate of overfat women is around 80%, while overfat children are around 50%.


Those are some high numbers. According to the study, the term overfat refers to "presence of excess body fat that can impair health." The body fat in the belly usually refers to excess visceral fat, as it's the type of fat most likely to cause organ dysfunction, reduced metabolic rates, higher insulin sensitivity, and other health problems. 


Even non-obese people in a normal weight range can be considered overfat due to their above-average abdominal fat. Even military personnel, professional athletes, and other active people are overfat.

The researchers found that as much as 76% of the population of the world may be overfat. Thanks to the increase of abdominal fat in both children and adults, health problems like insulin resistance, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular disease are on the rise. Being overfat can lead to many issues, including gallbladder disease, pulmonary disease, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart disease, cancer, and the list goes on.


The population of the entire world having 76% of the people with enough body fat to impair health is a pretty scary statistic, and it should be a wake-up call for everyone. Even if you are active, you may still qualify as overfat if you have a lot of excess abdominal fat. You still run the risk of health problems in the future.


Time to focus on the things that matter most: cutting back on sugar (which is the primary contributor to abdominal fat), increasing activity (not just gym workouts, but moving around throughout the day), and living a healthy lifestyle. It'll take hard work, but it's worth it to decrease your risk of the health problems that result from being categorized as one of the 90% overfat men or 80% overfat women in the country.



1. Maffetone, Philip B., Ivan Rivera-Dominguez, and Paul B. Laursen. “Overfat Adults and Children in Developed Countries: The Public Health Importance of Identifying Excess Body Fat.” Frontiers in Public Health 5 (2017). doi:10.3389/fpubh.2017.00190.

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