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After completing this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  • Understand the importance of consuming a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise as a means of reducing the incidence of health-related problems.

  • Explain the distinction between body weight and body composition.

  • Analyze the principle of caloric balance and how imbalances lead to gain or loss of body fat.

  • Identify various methods for altering body composition by reducing body fat.

  • Assess the importance of lifestyle modification for long-term weight control.

  • Develop a program of weight loss or maintenance consistent with your needs.

  • Identify various eating disorders and discuss how they can affect an individual's lifestyle.


  • overweight

  • obese

  • body mass index (BMI)

  • adipose cell

  • subcutaneous fat

  • body composition

  • lean body weight

  • caloric balance

  • calories

  • kilocalorie

  • basal metabolic rate (BMR)

  • set point theory

  • spot reducing

  • bulimia nervosa

  • anorexia nervosa

Why Are You Concerned About Your Body Image?

It seems that virtually all Americans at one time or another have been concerned about their body image. Many of us look in the mirror and study the bulge that spreads around the midsection or the dimples on the thighs and wonder how to eliminate them. Our desire to achieve a more ideal appearance makes us easy targets for those interested in profiting from our concern.

Certainly, not everyone in the United States has a problem with their weight, and this is especially true for the younger population (i.e., high school and college age). But for many people, the struggle to achieve a positive, realistic image of how your body looks has turned into a $60 billion a year industry that presents various diet plans, exercise facilities, and countless gimmicks and gadgets guaranteed to help you lose those extra few inches that influence the way that you see your body. One thing they don't guarantee is that you will be able to maintain that loss. Most people who do lose body weight eventually regain it and even gain some extra weight. So, why is it important to try to at least maintain or if necessary lose body weight?

Many people decide to try to lose weight because they are dissatisfied with their appearance. Others realize the importance living a healthy lifestyle by consuming a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise as a means of reducing the incidence of health-related problems as they grow older. There is little question that being overweight can lead to a number of health-related problems. If you are carrying extra body weight, you run an increased risk for developing heart disease, hypertension, atherosclerosis, stroke, diabetes, infections of the respiratory tract, cancer, and disorders of the kidneys. If you are moderately overweight, you have a 40 percent higher risk for premature death. Individuals who are obese have a death rate 70 percent higher than normal. Obviously, you must be concerned ...

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