Obesity: Definition, Causes, Treatment & Diagnosis and More

Obesity and Overweight facts

Obesity is defined as excess body fat or a BMI that is greater than 30. Obesity refers to having excess body fat. Adults aged 35 and over with a BMI over 30 are considered to be obese. Obesity isn’t simply a cosmetic problem. It’s a long-lasting medical issue that could result in the development of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity-related cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart diseases, gallstones, and other chronic ailments.
Obesity is an increased risk factor for various kinds of types of cancer.
Obesity can be difficult to tackle and has a very high chance of relapse. The majority of patients who suffer from obesity are losing weight and gain it back within five years.
Although diets and medications are a great help, the treatment of obesity is not an immediate “fix” but has to be a long-term dedication to healthy eating habits, more physical activity, and consistent exercising.
The purpose of treatment must be to attain and maintain a “healthier weight,” not necessarily the ideal weight.
A modest loss of 5% to 10 percent of the weight you were carrying and the ongoing keeping the weight loss could bring substantial health benefits, mainly by lower blood pressure, and decreasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
The likelihood of long-term success in a reduction in weight increases by working with an entire team of experts such as psychologists, dietitians, and fitness experts.

What exactly are obesity and overweight?

Obesity is defined in different ways. differs according to the context of. In general, the terms overweight and obesity are a sign of a higher weight than is healthy. Obesity is a condition that lasts for a long time that is characterized by an excess of body fat. Some amount of fat is essential for the storage of energy, insulation from heat, shock absorption as well as other purposes.

A person’s body mass index (BMI) is the most reliable measure of obesity, as determined by the height of a person and their weight. BMI is the weight of a person measured in kg (kg) per meter of height (m) multiplied by (more details will be provided in the following article). Because BMI is a measure of body weight in relation to height, it has a significant correlation with the body fat percentages for adults:

Normal: BMI of 18.5-24.9
Overweight: BMI of 25-29.9
Obese A BMI greater than 30
Obese with Morbidity: BMI over 40


How prevalent is the problem of obesity?

Obesity is at epidemic levels within America. The United States. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese and one out of three Americans is overweight. The incidence of obesity in children has grown significantly. The rate of obesity has been rising dramatically across the globe and the prevalence of obesity almost doubled between the years 1991 and 1998. In 2015, more than 40% of Americans were overweight within the U.S.

Are you at risk of becoming obese?

A variety of variables can raise a person’s likelihood of being overweight.


Certain individuals have genetic factors which make it hard for them to shed weight.

Community and Environment

Your surroundings at home as well as at school and within your community will have an impact on what you eat, as well as how active you are.

You could be at greater risk of being overweight If you:

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reside in a place that has only a few healthy options or numerous Trusted Source food choices that are high in calories such as fast-food eateries
We haven’t yet learned how to cook healthy meals.
don’t think that you are able to afford healthier food
we haven’t been able to find Trusted Source a great area to play, walk or exercise in your area
Other psychological factors
Depression may cause weight gain since some people might seek food as a source of emotional relief. Some antidepressants may also boost the risk of weight increase.

The decision to stop smoking cigarettes will always be a great decision, but it can result in weight gain too. For some, this could cause excessTrusted Source weight to increase. This is why it’s vital to pay attention to exercising and diet while abstaining, at least until the initial withdrawal phase.

The use of medications, like steroids and birth control medications may also increase the risk of weight growth.

What is the process of diagnosing obesity?

The BMI can be described as a rough estimate of someone’s weight relative to their height.

Other, more accurate measures of weight and distribution of body fat are:

Tests of the thickness of the skinfold
waist-to-hip comparisons
screening tests, including the use of ultrasound, CT scans screening tests, such as ultrasounds, CT scans using MRI
Your physician may also recommend specific tests to aid in diagnosing health issues associated with obesity. This could include:

Blood tests to determine the levels of cholesterol as well as levels of glucose levels
tests for liver function
a diabetes screening
test for thyroid
heart tests, for example, the electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
The measurement of the amount of fat in your waist is also a reliable indicator of your vulnerability to obesity-related illnesses.


9 major causes of obesity

A person’s weight is determined by the balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure. When a person consumes more calories than his or her body burns (metabolizes), the person will gain weight because the body will store the extra energy as fat. A person will lose weight if he or she consumes fewer calories than they or metabolize. As a result, overeating and physical inactivity are the two most common causes of obesity.

In the end, genetics, metabolism, environment, behavior, and culture all have a role in body weight:

Genetics. If one or both parents are obese, a child is more prone to develop obesity. Hormones involved in fat control are also affected by genetics. Leptin deficiency, for example, is a hereditary cause of obesity. The hormone leptin is generated in fat cells and the placenta. When body fat storage is too high, leptin sends a signal to the brain telling it to eat less. If the body is unable to create enough leptin or leptin is unable to signal the brain to eat less, this control is lost, and obesity develops. The use of leptin replacement therapy as a treatment for obesity is being investigated.

Inactivity on the physical level. People who are sedentary burn fewer calories than those who are active. Physical inactivity and weight increase have high associations in both sexes, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).


Simple carbohydrate-rich diet. Carbohydrates’ role in weight gain is unclear. Carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels, which prompts the pancreas to release insulin, which stimulates fat tissue growth and can lead to weight gain. Simple carbohydrates (sugars, fructose, desserts, soft drinks, beer, wine, and so on) are thought to contribute to weight gain because they are absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream than complex carbohydrates (pasta, brown rice, grains, vegetables, raw fruits, and so on) and thus cause a greater insulin release after meals. Some scientists believe that increased insulin release contributes to weight growth.

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Overeating. Weight gain is a result of overeating, especially if the diet is high in fat. High-fat, high-sugar foods (such as fast food, fried foods, and sweets) have a high energy density (a lot of calories in a small amount of food). Diets high in fat have been linked to weight increases in epidemiological research.


The frequency with which you eat. The link between eating frequency (the number of times you eat) and weight is debatable. There have been numerous reports that overweight persons eat less frequently than people of average weight. Scientists have shown that those who eat four or five short meals per day had lower cholesterol and/or more stable blood sugar levels than those who eat less frequently (two or three large meals daily). Small, frequent meals create stable insulin levels, whereas large meals cause substantial insulin surges after meals, according to one theory.


Medications. Some antidepressants, anticonvulsants (medications used to control seizures such as carbamazepine [Tegretol, Tegretol XR, Equetro, Carbatrol] and valproate [Depacon, Depakene]), some diabetes medications (medications used to lower blood sugar such as insulin, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones), oral contraceptives, and most cortical Weight gain is a side effect of some blood pressure medicines and antihistamines. The reason for weight gain with drugs varies depending on the prescription. If this is a worry for you, you should talk to your doctor about your prescriptions rather than stopping them, as this could have serious consequences.


Factors of psychology. Emotions have an impact on some people’s eating habits. Many people overeat in response to negative feelings like boredom, melancholy, tension, or rage. While most overweight persons have no more psychological problems than people of normal weight, roughly 30% of people seeking therapy for major weight problems have binge eating issues.

Diseases: Obesity is exacerbated by diseases such as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and Cushing’s syndrome. Obesity can be caused by certain disorders, such as Prader-Willi syndrome.

Obesity and social issues: There is a link between the two. Obesity can be exacerbated by a lack of funds to purchase nutritious foods or a lack of safe locations to walk or exercise.

What is the treatment for obesity?

Medical assistance is available if you have obesity and have been unable to lose weight on your own. Begin by consulting your health care physician, who may be able to refer you to a local weight-loss expert.

Your doctor may also wish to collaborate with you as part of a weight-loss team. A dietician, therapist, or another member of the healthcare team could be part of that group.

Your doctor will help you make the necessary lifestyle modifications. They may also propose drugs or weight loss surgery in some cases. Learn more about obesity treatment options.

Which adjustments in your lifestyle and behavior can help you lose weight?
Your healthcare team can inform you about food choices and assist you in developing a healthy eating plan that is right for you.

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Strength, endurance, and metabolism can all be improved with an organized exercise program and increased daily activity of up to 300 minutes per week.

Counseling or support groups can also assist you in identifying harmful triggers and coping with anxiety, despair, or emotional eating difficulties.

Unless a child is severely overweight, lifestyle and behavioral adjustments are the ideal weight loss approaches for children.

What drugs are used to help people lose weight?

In addition to nutrition and exercise routines, your doctor may prescribe some prescription weight loss drugs.

Medications are normally provided only when other weight-loss treatments have failed and you have a BMI of 27.0 or higher, as well as obesity-related health problems.

Prescription weight-loss drugs can stop fat from being absorbed or reduce hunger. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following for long-term usage (at least 12 weeks):

topiramate/phentermine (Qsymia)
naltrexone/bupropion (Contrave), liraglutide (Saxenda), and orlistat (Alli, Xenical), which is the only one approved by the FDA for use in children aged 12 and up.
These medications can have unfavorable side effects. Orlistat, for example, can cause oily, frequent bowel motions, intestinal urgency, and gas.

While you’re on these meds, your doctor will keep a careful eye on you.

What are the different kinds of weight-loss surgeries?

Bariatric surgery is a term used to describe weight loss surgery.

This sort of surgery works by reducing the amount of food you can eat comfortably or by preventing food and calories from being absorbed by your body. It has the ability to do both at times.

Surgery for weight loss isn’t a quick remedy. It’s a large procedure with significant hazards. People who have surgery must adjust how they eat and how much they eat afterward, or they risk becoming ill.

Nonsurgical methods, on the other hand, aren’t always helpful in helping obese persons lose weight and reduce their risk of comorbidities.

The following are some of the different types of weight loss surgery:

Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure in which the stomach is bypassed. Your surgeon builds a tiny pouch at the top of your stomach that links directly to your small intestine during this procedure. Food and liquids bypass much of the stomach by going through the pouch and into the intestine. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) is another name for it.
Gastric banding can be adjusted laparoscopically (LAGB). LAGB uses a band to divide your stomach into two pouches.
Gastric sleeve surgery is a type of gastric bypass surgery. This treatment involves the removal of a portion of your stomach.
Duodenal switch and biliopancreatic diversion The majority of your stomach is removed during this treatment.

How can you avoid being obese?

Obesity and obesity-related disorders have increased dramatically during the previous two decades. This is why, in order to help turn the tide on obesity, communities, states, and the federal government are emphasizing healthy eating choices and activities.

You may help avoid weight gain and obesity on a personal level by making healthier lifestyle choices:

Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, such as walking, swimming, or biking.
Choose nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein to eat properly.
Moderately consume high-fat, high-calorie foods.


I am a practising physician and medical expert also a blogger and content creator

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