Although many people prefer the less-ambiguous term body mass, the term body weight is overwhelmingly used in daily English speech and in biological and medical science contexts to describe the mass of an organism's body. Body weight is measured in kilograms throughout the world, although in some countries people more often measure their body weight in pounds (e.g. USA) or stones and pounds (e.g. UK) and thus may not be well acquainted with measurement in kilograms. Most hospitals in the United States use kilograms for calculations, but use kilograms and pounds simultaneously for other purposes. (A kg is about 2.2 lbs, and a stone (14 lb) is about 6.4 kg.)
The term is usually encountered in connection with:
- food and feeding behaviour
- normal and abnormal growth and development
- the physiological and hormonal control of ingestion and digestion
- foraging for food in non-human animals
- hunger and other motivations to eat
- problems in regulating body weight, often resulting in obesity
- eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa
- effects of disease
- athletic competitions where the participants are classified according to their body weight
Participants in sports such as boxing, wrestling, judo, and weight-lifting are classified according to their body weight, measured in units of mass such as pounds or kilograms. See, e.g., wrestling weight classes, boxing weight classes, judo at the 2004 Summer Olympics, boxing at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
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