What is Obesity? Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Not everybody who is fat is healthy. Some of them might be suffering from obesity.

Obesity is a serious health disorder that can lead to a wide range of medical conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. Anyone could be at risk of obesity including children, but the latest data of the National Center for Health Statistics shows that there is an increasing prevalence of obesity among senior citizens who are 65 years old and older.

About more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight, but they should not feel hopeless about their condition. Overweight people need physical and emotional support from their families besides advice from a cardiologist, psychologist, dietician, and physical therapist, among other licensed physicians specializing in obesity and related diseases.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a health disorder that hinders a person from functioning normally because of excessive body fat. Healthy people have a body mass index (BMI) not more than 25 kg/m2, so if one’s BMI ranges from 25 to 30 there is no doubt he is obese.

Obese people experience rapid weight increase and layers of fatty tissues gradually form around their waist, arms, abdomen, thighs, and legs and thus restricting their movements. Endocrinologists attribute obesity to the inflammation of the adipose tissue, connective tissue that stores fat, owing to genetic or environmental reasons.

Aside from the changes that their bodies undergo, people who are obese also suffer from excessive fatigue because of obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS), a condition in which breathing is difficult because of excess fat leaning against the chest wall.

According to health specialists, obesity cannot be resolved merely with cosmetic surgery since this health problem stems from within the body.

What are the Causes of Obesity?

You cannot be overweight or obese in a week’s time, as it takes months or years for this health condition to develop. Some people develop obesity from an underlying hormonal dysfunction such as hypothyroidism or adrenogenital syndrome, but for most, it is a result of excessive calorie intake.

Health experts say people who have been accustomed to an unbalanced diet are likely to become obese. Good eating habits should begin at home and while one is young, so tolerating a child’s fondness for junk food is an introduction to obesity.

One’s lifestyle can also tell if one is a potential candidate for obesity. People who do not exercise or at least go out of the house to walk have no way of burning the calories they get from the food they eat.

Muscle loss due to aging is another reason that causes obesity. Older people have to consider a low-calorie diet because they burn calories at a slower rate so this increases their risk of accumulating more fat.

Diagnosis of Obesity

Dividing your weight by your height will only result in your BMI or the total amount of fat in your body. It is not the best gauge for obesity.

If you or a family member is experiencing breathing difficulties, heartburn, back and joint pains apart from abnormal weight gain, these could be signs of obesity or other related illnesses. It is best to consult a medical expert immediately.

Aside from checking the BMI, a professional doctor will measure the waistline, examine the blood, and perform other laboratory tests on his patient whom he suspects to be obese.


The solution to obesity is proper weight management that begins with a healthy diet. Dietitians strongly recommend a low-calorie diet, as fat reduction reduces one’s risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

Aside from changing their diet, obese people should start an exercise routine like yoga exercises for weight loss that will allow them to release calories regularly.

Unfortunately, a change in diet and exercise will not work for everybody. Those who are suffering severe obesity must consider another alternative known as bariatric surgery. This process entails the reduction of the stomach using a medical device called gastric banding.

However, most doctors who specialize in obesity only resort to bariatrics if one’s BMI is 40 kg/m2 or higher.

Prevention of Obesity  

Unless you were born obese, establishing a diet that is low in sugar and salt, and starting an exercise program your whole family can participate in will definitely spare your home from obesity.

Aside from watching what you eat and converting calories to energy, visit your doctor frequently. Do not wait for the symptoms of obesity to occur because it is easier and cheaper to prevent the disease than to cure it.

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