Throughout history there are records of individuals who were notably fat; this was usually regarded as a sign of power and success. However, in the last quarter of the twentieth century there was a rapid increase in the proportion of the population that was obese (so fat as to reduce health and life expectancy), so obesity is now a major public health problem.

Keywords: quetelet index; body mass index; energy balance; thermogenesis

Figure 1.

Relation of mortality ratio to Quetelet index in young adults.


Further Reading

British Nutrition Foundation (1999) Obesity: Report of a Task Force. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

Kopelman PG and Stock MJ (eds) (1998) Clinical Obesity. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

World Health Organization (1998) Obesity: Preventing and Managing the Global Epidemic. Geneva: WHO.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Garrow, JS(Apr 2001) Obesity. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001905]