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Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat
accumulation that presents a risk to health. A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is
considered overweight, and over 30 is obese. The issue has grown to
epidemic proportions, with over 4 million people dying each year as a result of
being overweight or obese in 2017 according to the global burden of

Rates of overweight and obesity continue to grow in adults and
children. From 1975 to 2016, the prevalence of overweight or obese children and
adolescents aged 5–19 years increased more than four-fold from 4% to 18%

Obesity is one side of the double burden of malnutrition,
and today more people are obese than underweight in every region except
sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Once considered a problem only in high-income
countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low- and
middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. The vast majority of
overweight or obese children live in developing countries, where the rate of
increase has been more than 30% higher than that of developed countries.


Obesity is diagnosed when your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or
higher. To determine your body mass index, divide your weight in pounds by your
height in inches squared and multiply by 703. Or divide your weight in
kilograms by your height in meters squared.


Weight status

Below 18.5






30.0 and higher


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 obesity
category even though they don't have excess body fat.

When to see a doctor

If you're concerned about weight-related health problems, ask
your doctor about obes
ity management. You
and your doctor can evaluate your health risks and discuss your weight-loss

What causes obesity?

Eating more calories than you burn in daily activity and
exercise — on a long-term basis — can lead to obesity. Over time, these extra
calories add up and cause weight gain.

But it’s not always just about calories in and calories out, or
having a sedentary lifestyle. While those are indeed causes of obesity, some
causes you can’t control.

Common specific causes of obesity include:

  • genetics, which
    can affect how your body processes food into energy and how fat is

  • growing older, which can lead to less muscle mass and a
    slower metabolic rate, making it easier to gain weight

  • not sleep enough, which can lead to hormonal changes
    that make you feel hungrier and crave certain high-calorie foods

  • pregnancy, as weight gained during pregnancy may be
    difficult to lose and might eventually lead to obesity

Certain health conditions can also lead to weight gain, which
may lead to obesity. These include:

  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that
    causes an imbalance of female reproductive hormones

  • Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare condition present at
    birth that causes excessive hunger

  • Cushing Syndrome, a condition caused by having high
    cortisol level (the stress hormones

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) and other conditions that
    cause pain that may lead to reduced activity.


6 Types
of Obesity

Food Obesity.

Thickness due to Nervous Stomach.

Gluten diet.

Genetic metabolic Obesity.

Venous Circulation Obesity.

Health risks of obesity


People with obesity have
a higher chance of developing these health problems:

High blood glucose (sugar) or

High blood pressure (hypertension).

High blood cholesterol and
triglycerides (dyslipidemia, or high blood fats).

Heart attacks due to coronary heart
disease, heart failure, and stroke.

Bone and joint problems, more weight
puts pressure on the bones and joints. This can lead to osteoarthritis, a
disease that causes joint pain and stiffness.

Stopping breathing during sleep
(sleep apnea). This can cause daytime fatigue or sleepiness, poor attention,
and problems at work.

Gallstones and liver problems.

Some cancers

 How is obesity diagnosed?

BMI is a rough calculation of a person’s weight in relation to
their height.

Other more accurate measures of body fat and body fat distribution include:

Your doctor may also order certain tests to help diagnose
obesity-related health risks. These may include:

A measurement of the fat around your waist is also a good predictor of your risk for
obesity-related diseases.


How can overweight and obesity be reduced?

Overweight and
obesity, as well as their related noncommunicable diseases, are largely
preventable. Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping
people’s choices, by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical
activity the easiest choice (the choice that is the most accessible, available
and affordable), and therefore preventing overweight and obesity.

At the individual
level, people can:

  • limit energy intake from total
    fats and sugars;

  • increase consumption of fruit
    and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and

  • Engage in regular physical
    activity (60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes spread through the
    week for adults).

responsibility can only have its full effect where people have access to a
healthy lifestyle. Therefore, at the societal level it is important to support
individuals in following the recommendations above, through sustained
implementation of evidence based and population based policies that make
regular physical activity and healthier dietary choices available, affordable
and easily accessible to everyone, particularly to the poorest individuals. An
example of such a policy is a tax on sugar sweetened beverages.

The food industry can
play a significant role in promoting healthy diets by:

  • reducing the fat, sugar and
    salt content of processed foods;

  • ensuring that healthy and
    nutritious choices are available and affordable to all consumers;

  • restricting marketing of foods
    high in sugars, salt and fats, especially those foods aimed at children
    and teenagers; and

  • Ensuring the availability of
    healthy food choices and supporting regular physical activity practice in
    the workplace.


factors play a role in the development of obesity. Genetic traits can increase
the risk in some people.

a healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh foods and getting regular exercise
will reduce the risk of obesity in most people.

However, those with a genetic predisposition to the condition
may find it harder to maintain a moderate weight.

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