You might be obese and it can make your baby overweight, too!

You've probably heard of the Body Mass Index (BMI) as a way to measure your body fat based on height and weight. According to BMI calculations, roughly 30% of Americans are obese. But a new study has determined that obesity rates are actually closer to 60 percent—and the BMI is to blame for the previous underestimation.

The problem doesn't stop there though. Being obese instead of overweight might not seem like such a big deal to some, but it's a big deal when it comes to pregnancy. While a previous study said that being obese hurts your baby's brain development, the most recent study found that getting pregnant while dieting increases a baby's obesity risk. Yet another concluded that being obese during childbirth can lead to a C-section, birth defects and even stillbirths.

So what does this all add up to? We may be more overweight than we thought—and it might be hurting the people we least want to hurt, our children.  

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Read more ¿Qué más? The terrible way being overweight can affect your unborn baby.

We've been using the BMI method to calculate our fat ratio for years and it's how I personally realized that, at 5'2" and 220 pounds, I was morbidly obese and chose to get a gastric bypass to lose the weight. With the chart saying that adults with a BMI of over 25 are overweight and a BMI of 30 is obese, how misled have we been? Are those who think they're only in the "overweight" category actually obese? At least half of them may be, according to the new study published in PlosOne in which researchers used a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to measure bone mass and body fat—thus proving that BMI is not the best way to find obesity rates.

But the obesity rate isn't nearly as scary as what obesity may be doing to our children. While there are rappers fighting against childhood obesity and hospitals that put up ads warning parents against the dangers of their kids being overweight, the real culprit of rising rates in childhood obesity may be the mother's health at the time of pregnancy.

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If I knew that being obese would do such horrible, damaging things to my children—like hurting their brain development, increasing their risk of obesity and diabetes later in life and even being the reason for more birth defects and stillbirths—I would have gotten the bariatric surgery even sooner, something which some hospitals are even recommending to mothers before getting pregnant.

It's not easy losing weight, as the people on our Weight Loss Challenge can tell you, but it's important to try. Although I've learned from personal experience that keeping it off can be just as difficult (if not more!), these new statistics about obesity and the dangers it causes in pregnancy has scared me into making sure that I never, ever face those dreaded numbers on the scale again. It won't be easy for any of us, but I don't want to be obese any more than I want my baby to be overweight and suffering.

Do you think that the obesity epidemic is growing? How do you plan to help your kids, and yourself, keep your weight healthy?

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