Although obesity—having a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher—has been on the rise since the early ’80s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that the rates are leveling off. Between 2005–06, 33 percent of men and 35 percent of women were obese, which represents a slower rate of increase than the previous figures. They also found that there were no racial disparities in rates among men.  But the CDC found that half of African-American women were obese. Having this much extra weight increases your risk of developing cancers, hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease.

The upside? You have the power to decrease these risks. By making a few lifestyle changes—cutting down on fatty foods, eating more fruits and vegetables, and incorporating a regimen of moderate exercise, strength training and meditation—you can achieve an average weight (BMI of 18.5–25).
Don’t know your BMI? Calculate it here.