At the physiological level, obesity can be defined as a condition of abnormal or excessive fat accumulation in adipose tissue to the extent that health may be impaired. However, it is difficult to measure body fat directly and so surrogate measures such as the body mass index (BMI) are commonly used to indicate overweight and obesity in adults. Additional tools are available for identification of individuals with increased health risks due to 'central' fat distribution, and for the more detailed characterization of excess fat in special clinical situations and research.
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