Obesity: Everything You Need to Know - Sugar.Fit
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By Shifa Fatima, MSc.,

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Apoorva T, MHM.

Reviewed: January 22, 2022

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What is Obesity?

Obesity is typically defined as having a BMI or Body Mass Index of either 30 or more. BMI score is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in Kg by the square of height in meters. However, there are also some limitations associated with BMI.Experts say that factors like an individual’s sex, age, ethnicity, and muscle mass can also have an influence on the relationship between body fat and BMI. In addition to that, BMI also does not distinguish between muscle, excess fat, and bone mass and also does not give information regarding the distribution of fat in an individual. Despite all these red flags, it is still very commonly used as an indicator of excess weight. Also, the types of obesity depend on where the BMI lies.

How is obesity classified?

The primary measure of the level of a person’s obesity would be their BMI. The height and weight are taken into account to measure the body size and obesity levels. In adults, obesity can be defined as a BMI of 30.0 or more. It can be placed into the following classes. 

For adults over the age of 20, here is how it can be classified:

BMI           Class                                                              
18.5 or under underweight                                                        
18.5 to <25.0 “normal” weight                                                    
25.0 to <30.0 overweight                                                        
30.0 to <35.0 class 1 obesity                                                    
35.0 to <40.0 class 2 obesity                                                    
40.0 or over   class 3 obesity (also known as morbid, extreme, or severe obesity)

What is childhood obesity

To obtain an understanding of childhood obesity, a doctor would have to look at a child over 2 years of age until their teenage years. If the BMI is in the 95thpercentile of the other children of the same age and sex, the child can be diagnosed as obese.

Percentile range of BMI Class          
>5%                     underweight    
5% to <85%               “normal” weight
85% to <95%             overweight      
95% or over             obesity        

Around 2015 and 2016, statistics showed that almost 18.5 percent of the American youth (between the ages of 2 and 19 years) were considered to be clinically obese. This number accounts for almost 13.7 million people.

Obesity Symptoms

As mentioned above, the most common obesity Symptom is when your BMI is 30 or more. We have also understood how BMI is calculated for an individual. There are many charts available on the internet but you can also do simple calculations on your own. However, let us understand this a little more in details and educate ourselves:

  • When the BMI is below 18.5 an individual is underweight
  • When the BMI is between 18.5-24.9 the individual has normal weight
  • When the BMI is between 24.5-29.9 then the individual is overweight
  • When the BMI is 30.0 and higher the individual is obese.

Apart from that the most obvious obesity Signs and Symptoms are when an individual starts panting after walking just a few steps or climbing a few flights of stairs or doing any physical movement and has to stop and catch a breath. Before making any conclusion you should know all the myths and facts about obesity.

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Risk Factors of Obesity

Any individual may be prone to obesity Risk Factors depending on different factors. We have discussed some common ones below for your reference and understanding of your body.

  • Genetics – some people have certain genes which makes it increasingly difficult for them to lose weight.
  • Psychological Factors – factors such as stress, depression, and anxiety have also been known to contribute to weight gain as a person facing these usually turn to food for emotional comfort
  • Environment and Community – the environment at your home, school, office, and in your community has a big role to play in the kind of food you eat and how active you are. Smoking too much is also said to contribute to this.
  • Certain Medications – medicines like certain antidepressants, birth control pills, and steroids are also known to contribute to weight gain.

Obesity Causes

Understanding the Causes of obesity is important in order for you to understand if you need to find a suitable obesity cure or not. We have mentioned common ones for you:

  • Having a diet that is high in fats and calories and burning fewer calories in a day than you consume. This Causes all the extra calories to add up as excess weight in the long run.
  • Not including any sort of movement in your daily life and staying sedentary or inactive for the most part of your day
  • Getting inadequate sleep which is linked to cravings for higher calorie food and hormonal changes which Causes you to feel more hungry than usual
  • Genetic factors influence how fat is stored in your body and how your body ultimately processes food into energy.
  • Medical conditions like PCOS, Cushing syndrome, and osteoarthritis also contribute to weight gain.

How is Obesity diagnosed?

  • As already mentioned above, one of the most common and widely used ways of Diagnosing this problem is to look at the relationship between an individual’s height and weight and then arrive at the Body Mass Index of that person.
  • Skinfold thickness is a method used to measure the body fat of an individual and the body fat distribution.
  • Waist to hip comparisons is also done to determine which area has the most amount of fat percentage present. An understanding of the amount of fat that is present around your waist and hip area is a good way to predict for any Diseases related to obesity.
  • There is a couple of obesity test like an ultrasound, a magnetic resonance imaging also commonly known as MRI and a computed tomography (CT) scan that the doctor might prescribe you to do in order to understand your body better.
  • The doctor might even as you to get a couple of other tests done to determine obesity and health risks related to obesity. These tests generally include liver function tests, blood tests to examine glucose level and cholesterol, thyroid tests, diabetes screen, and certain heart tests like an electrocardiogram.

These are some of the most common and known ways to Diagnose this Disease which is also practiced and followed by the best obesity doctor and even a general doctor or physician who Treats obesity as well. However, despite the Diagnosis seeming very easy it is always best to consult a good doctor and not go for self-Diagnosis at any point or start taking any medicines on your own.

Obesity Treatment

Obesity Treatment is certain to mix of things that an individual needs to do on their own and certain things for which medical help might be required:

  • The first and foremost thing to do is to change your diet and lifestyle and starting eating healthily and include exercise in your daily routine.
  • If you are unable to lose weight on your own by diet and lifestyle changes, then a bariatric physician is someone you can consider. They specialize in helping individuals lose weight without the need for any surgery.
  • Your doctor can help you get in touch with a team of a dietician, personal exercise trainers, and healthcare staff who will get you on track for a healthy lifestyle. There is certain obesity medicine also that can help.

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How to Prevent and Control Obesity

There are some very basic things that you can incorporate in your daily life and understand the psychology of weight loss in order to prevent obesity :

  • Make good lifestyle choices by including a form of exercise that you enjoy in your daily routine. It can be swimming, biking, or even dancing. Select it and do it for at least 30 minutes daily.
  • Have a healthy diet in place which includes a mix of protein, carbs, fiber, and other important nutrients. This is possible when you eat a mix of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains.
  • Mental health also plays an important role in this so make sure to include practices like meditation and getting adequate sleep every day.

What are the complications of obesity?

Obesity symptoms and complications can be different in different people. If you think that this condition is nothing but more weight, you are mistaken. It goes beyond a lot more than simply putting on a few kilos. 

  • Having a weight and body fat that is higher than essential can put a lot of strain and stress on the bones and the internal organs within the body.
  • There is also an increased risk for inflammation in the body which can be an added risk factor that can lead to cancer
  • Obesity can also be an early indicator, as well as a cause, for the development of type 2 diabetes. 
  • Other life-threatening health complications are linked to the onset of obesity like – heart diseases, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, stroke, fatty liver or gallbladder disease, development of chronically high cholesterol levels, sleep issues, infertility, arthritis, etc.

Which lifestyle and behavioral changes can help with weight loss?

There are several changes that can promote healthy weight among people who are looking to exercise control over their weight.

  1. Eat healthy food – Include fiber-rich foods in the diet and categories that are high in protein, minerals, vitamins, etc. 
  2. Eliminate junk food – While it is important to know what to eat, it is equally important to understand what not to eat. Avoid oily and fatty foods, stay away from high-sugar items, and make sure to remove high carbs, maida, and starch-filled food from the daily diet chart.
  3. Physical exercise – Movement and exercise will help burn the fat from the body and will also eliminate the excess sugars in the bloodstream. Mix up the different forms of exercise like cardio, strength training, weights, etc to be able to make the most of it.


What are the three types of obesity? 

Obesity is a condition where the body mass index that is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in Kg by the square of the person’s height in meters is equal to or more than 30. Having BMI beyond 30 indicates excess weight. Depending on the deposition of this excess fat there are three types of diabetes as listed below.

  1. Peripheral- In this type, too much fat is accumulated on your hips and buts. 
  2. Central- When excess fats accumulate over the abdominal area. 
  3. Combination- It’s the combination of fat accumulation areas of both peripheral and central regions. 

Apart from these, there are other forms of obesity that might develop due to association with other diseases and the size and number of fat cells. 

How do I know if I'm obese? 

A simple technique to find out whether you are obese or not is by calculating your body mass index. This can be calculated by dividing your body weight in Kg by the square of the height of your body in meters. If the result is equal to or more than 30 then you come under the obese category. However, you aren’t obese if you fall under the following categories.

  1. BMI less than 18.5- Individual is considered underweight.
  2. BMI between 18.5 and 24.9- Individual is considered normal weight.
  1. BMI between 24.5 and 29.9- Individual is considered overweight. 

Who is at risk of obesity?

As your BMI increases your risk of having obesity and obesity-related complications increases. If your BMI ranges between 24.5 and 29.9 then you fall under the overweight category and your risk to get obese is severely high than other people. Eating high-calorie food and indulging in no physical activities makes you at risk of developing obesity.

What are the types of weight loss surgery?

The different types of weight loss surgery are

  1. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass
  2. Adjustable banding
  3. Sleeve gastrectomy


  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/adult-overweight-obesity


This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.