Obesity is a condition characterized by excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body. In an adult this is typically indicated by a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or more. Obesity is a leading cause of preventable illness and death in many countries. In recent years, the number of overweight people in industrialized countries has increased significantly; so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) has called Obesity an epidemic. In the United States, 69% of the adult population is overweight or obese. In Canada, the self-reported data shows that 40% of men and 27% of women are overweight and 20% of men and 17% of women are obese.


Overeating is the main factor related to obesity. When food intake exceeds energy expenditure, fat gets stored in the body those results in obesity. To maintain a healthy weight, the energy input and output don’t have to balance exactly every day. It’s the balance over time that helps to maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obesity happen over time when you take in more calories than you use. One of the major causes of obesity is attributed to change in lifestyle. Less physical activity, high calorie diet, sedentary life styles are linked to overweight and obesity. Other factors responsible for obesity are:

  • Genetic disorders
  • Underlying illness (such as hypothyroidism)
  • Eating disorders (such as Binge eating disorder)
  • Certain medications (such as anti-psycotics)
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • A high glycemic diet
  • Insufficient sleep
  • Stress
  • Sudden smoking cessation
  • Weight cycling – repeated attempts to do dieting to lose weight


Weight gain usually happens over time. Some of the signs of overweight or obesity include:

  • Clothes feeling tight and needing a larger size.
  • The scale showing that you've gained weight.
  • Having extra fat around the waist.
  • A higher than normal body mass index and waist circumference


Obesity is diagnosed when the body mass index (BMI) is 25 or higher. The body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in meters (m) squared.

The table below offers a sample of BMI measurements.

            BMI                                          Weight status

            Below 18.5 kg/m2                 Under weight

           18.5 - 22.99 kg/m2                 Normal weight

            23.0 - 24.99 kg/m2                Overweight

            25.0 kg/m2 or higher             Obese

For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. However, BMI doesn't directly measure body fat, so some people, such as muscular athletes, may have a BMI in the obese category even though they don't have excess body fat. BMI also many underestimate body fat in older people and others who have lost muscle. 


Obesity can cause day-to-day health problems such as:

  • breathlessness
  • increased sweating
  • snoring
  • difficulty sleeping
  • inability to cope with sudden physical activity
  • feeling very tired every day
  • back and joint pains.

Obesity can also cause changes that  may not be  noticed immediately, but can seriously harm the health, such as hypertension and high cholesterol levels. Both conditions significantly increase the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as, coronary heart disease, which may lead to a heart attack and stroke, which can cause significant disability and can be fatal.

Another long-term problem that can affect obese people is type 2 Diabetes. It is estimated that just under half of all cases of diabetes are linked to obesity. In addition to the day-to-day health problems, many people may also experience psychological problems such as low self-esteem, low confidence levels and feeling isolated in society.

These can affect relationships with family members and friends and may lead to depression.


Setting realistic weight-loss goals is an important first steps to losing weight.

For Adults

  • Try to lose 5 to 10 percent of the current weight over 6 months. This will lower the risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and other conditions.
  • The best way to lose weight is slowly. A weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is do-able, safe, and will help to keep off the weight.  It also will give the time to make new healthy lifestyle changes.
  • If you’ve lost 10 percent of your body weight, have kept it off for 6 months, and are still overweight or obese, you may want to consider further weight loss.

 For Children and Teens

  • If the child is overweight or at risk for overweight or obesity, the goal is to maintain the current weight and to focus on eating, healthy and being physically active. This should be part of a family effort to make lifestyle changes.
  • If the child is overweight or obese and has a health condition related to overweight or obesity, proper medical consultation is essential.











  • PUBLISHED DATE : Feb 15, 2016
  • PUBLISHED BY : Zahid
  • CREATED / VALIDATED BY : Dr. Eswara Das
  • LAST UPDATED ON : Aug 05, 2016


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