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Excessive body fat. It is usually caused by sedentary habits and a diet high in fat, alcohol, or total calories. Calories consumed but not used are stored as fat. Rare causes include glandular defects and excess steroids (seeCushing syndrome). Obesity raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes mellitus. Treatment, by reducing calorie intake and increasing exercise, is best undertaken with a doctor's advice.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on obesity, visit Britannica.com.