Obesity: Understanding, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and More


Obesity is when someone has too much body fat, which can cause health problems over time. Doctors use a calculation called body index (BMI) to check if someone is obese. For adults, having a BMI of 30 or higher usually means obesity. Obesity can lead to serious diseases like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. BMI is helpful but it’s not perfect. It doesn’t consider factors like age, sex, and muscle mass, so it might not give a complete picture. Still, it’s widely used because it’s cheaper than other methods. Weight discrimination can also harm health. Obesity is common in the United States. About 42% of people were obese from 2017 to march 2020, according to the CDC. For more research you can also visit Healthline.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a complex condition where a person’s weight exceeds what’s considered healthy for their height. It affects both children and adults. Many factors can lead to gaining excess weight, such as eating habits, physical activity levels, and sleep patterns.

What are the Symptoms of Obesity?

Obesity doesn’t have specific symptoms you can spot. A doctor might diagnose it by looking at:

  • A lot of fat around the belly, more than in other places
  • A waist size bigger than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women
  • A BMI over 30

What are the Causes of Obesity?

Eating more calories than you burn over a long time can make you obese. These extra calories turn into weight gain. But obesity isn’t just about eating too much or not moving enough. Some things you can’t control also play a role. Common cause of obesity include:

  • Genes: They affect how your body handles food and stores fat.
  • Aging: As you get older, you might have less muscle and a slower metabolism, making weight gain easier.
  • Not Enough Sleep: This can mess with your hormones, making you crave high-calorie foods.
  • Stress: It can make your body produce hormones that make you eat more and store fat.
  • Pregnancy: Gaining weight during pregnancy can stick around and lead to obesity.

Certain health problems can also cause weight gain, which might lead to obesity. These include:

  • Metabolic Syndrome: It’s a mix of health issues that up your chances of serious problems.
  • PCOS: It’s a hormone imbalance that can lead to weight gain.
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome: It makes you always feel hungry.
  • Cushing Syndrome: It’s when your body has too much of a stress hormone called cortisol.
  • Hypothyroidism: It’s when your thyroid doesn’t make enough important hormones.
  • Conditions like Osteoarthritis: Pain can make you move less and gain weight.

Who is at Risk of Obesity?

Many things together can make someone more likely to become obese.


Some people inherit genes that make it easier for them to gain weight and store fat in their bodies. Some people inherit genes that make it easier for them to gain weight and store fat in their bodies.

Environment and Community:

Where you live and spend time can affect what you eat and how much you move. If you live where there aren’t many healthy food choices or lots of fast-food places. Haven’t learned to cook healthy meals.

  • Think you can’t afford healthy foods.
  • Don’t have good places to play or exercise nearby.
  • You might have a higher chance of becoming obese.
  • Psychological and Other Factors:

Depression can make some people eat for comfort, which can lead to weight gain. Not getting enough sleep can also make you eat more during the day, especially fatty and sugary foods. Quitting smoking is good for your health but it might make you gain weight especially in the beginning. Some people gain a lot or gain weight when they quit. That’s why it’s important to watch what you eat and stay active, especially after the first tough days of quitting.


Some medicines can make you more likely to gain weight. These include:

  • Corticosteroids: They’re used to treat autoimmune disease.
  • Antidepressants: They’re used to treat depression.
  • Antipsychotics: They’re used to treat mental health conditions.
  • Beta-Blocker: They’re used to treat high blood pressure.

What is the Diagnosis of Obesity?

BMI gives a basic idea of how much you weigh compared to your height. For a more accurate look at body fat and where it is, doctors might use:

  • Skinfold Tests: They measure fat under the skin.
  • Waist-to-hip Ratio: It compares your waist size to your hip size.
  • DEXA Scans: These scan your body to measure fat and bone density.

Other tests like ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRI scans.

  • To check for health risks obesity, a doctor might order:
  • Blood tests to check high cholesterol and sugar levels.
  • Liver function tests.
  • Tests for diabetes and thyroid problems.
  • Heart tests like ECGs.
  • Measuring the fat around your waist is also a good way to see if you might get obesity-related disease.

What is the Treatment of Obesity?

If you’re struggling to lose weight on your own, don’t worry. There are medical options available to help. Start by talking to your regular doctor. They can refer you to a specialist who focuses on weight management. You might work with a team that includes a dietitian, therapist, or other healthcare professionals. Your doctor will guide you on making usually suggested lifestyle changes. In some cases, they might prescribe medication.

What are the Complications of Obesity?

Obesity isn’t just about gaining weight. When you have more body fat compared to muscles, it strains your bones and organs. It also causes more inflammation in your body, which might raise the risk of cancer. Obesity is a big reason for type-2 diabetes. Obesity can lead to serious health problems that need treatment:

What is the Prevention of Obesity?

Because obesity and obesity-related health issues are becoming more common, communities, states, and the government are focusing on promoting healthier food and activities to prevent obesity and help those who are overweight. On an individual level, you can also help prevent, like walking, swimming, or biking for about 20 to 30 minutes every day. Eating a balanced diet that’s good for your heart. This means eating plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limiting high-calorie foods and ones with a lot of unhealthy fats.

Which Lifestyle and Behavioral Changes Can Help with Weight Loss?

A healthcare team can suggest what foods to eat and create a healthy eating plan just for you. The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says a plan you can stick to for a long time might help you lose weight and keep it off. Doing regular exercise and being more active every day, like 150 to 300 minutes a week, will help you get stronger, have more endurance and boost your metabolism. Counseling or support groups can also help you deal with things like anxiety, depression, or eating when you’re upset.

Which Medicines Are Prescribed for Weight Loss?

Doctors might also prescribe certain weight loss pills along with diet and exercise plans. They might suggest these pills if other ways to lose weight haven’t worked and if you have a BMI of 27 or higher along with health problems linked to obesity. These prescription pills either stop your body from absorbing fat or make you less hungry. The FDA approved these pills for short-term use, up to 12 weeks:

  • Phentermine/topiramate (Qsymia)
  • Naltrexone/bupropion (Contreve)
  • Liraglutide (Sxenda)
  • Semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybelsus)
  • Orilstat (Alli, Xenical), the only one okayed for kids 12 and up

These pills might cause some not-so-nice side effects for some people. For example, orlistat can lead to oily poops and gas. But liraglutide and semaglutide might up the risk of thyroid cancer if you or your family have had it. Before you start taking these pills, make sure to tell your doctor about your health history. They’ll keep an eye on you to manage any side effects and keep you safe.

What are the Types of Weight Loss Surgery?

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a common procedure. This surgery can make you eat less comfortably or stop your body from absorbing food and calories. Sometimes, it does both. But it’s a quick fix. It’s a big surgery with serious risks. Afterward, you’ll need to change how and how much you eat, or you could get sick. Still other methods might not work well enough for people with obesity to lose weight and lower their risk of other health problems. There are different types of weight loss surgery:

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery: The surgeon makes a small pouch at the top of your stomach that connects straight to your small intestine. Food and drinks go through this pouch and into the intestine, skipping most of the stomach. It’s also called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery.
  • Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (LAGB): A band is put around your stomach, dividing it into two parts.
  • Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Part of your stomach is removed.
  • Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch: Most of your stomach is taken out.

Candidate for Surgery:

For a long time, experts said weight loss surgery was best for adults with a BMI of 35 more (class 2 and 3 obesity). But in 2018, the American Society for Metabolic Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) said surgery could be an option for adults with BMI of 30 to 35 (class 1 obesity) if:

  • They have health problems linked to obesity, especially type 2 diabetes.
  • Other ways to lose weight, like diet and lifestyle changes, haven’t worked long-term.

For people with class 1 obesity, surgery works best for those aged 18 to 65. Some people might need to lose weight before they can have surgery. They’ll also usually get counseling to make sure they’re ready for the surgery and the changes it brings. Only a few places in the U.S do these surgeries on kids under 18.

What You Know About Obesity Facts?

Weight gain and obesity aren’t just about eating too much or not moving enough. There are many other factors involved like:

  • Genetics: Some people are more likely to gain weight because of their genes.
  • Social or Economic Factors: Where you live and how much money you have can affect what you eat and how much you move.   
  • Certain Medications or Health Conditions: Some medicines and health problems can make you gain weight.


Obesity trends in the United States can be summarized as follows:


As of 2022, every state in the U.S has an obesity rate higher than 20%. Currently, 17 states have obesity rates exceeding 35%. The Southern region has the highest obesity prevalence at 36.3%, followed by the Midwest at 35.4%, the Northeast at 29.9% and the West at 28.7%. Washington D.C, boasts the lowest obesity rate at 24.7% followed by Hawaii and Colorado with rates of 25% and 25.1% respectively.

Obesity in Adults:

It’s estimated that just over 42% of American adults have obesity, while about 30.7% are overweight. In total, more than two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are overweight or have obesity. Adults aged 40 to 59 are more likely to have obesity with over 44% in this age group affected. Meanwhile, obesity affects 39.8% of adults aged 20 to 39 and 41.5 of those over 60.

Obesity in Children and Adolescents:

Almost 20% of children aged 2 to 9 in the United States have obesity which means more than 14.7 million kids and teens. Moreover, 1 in 8 preschoolers has obesity. However, recent reports from the CDC show that obesity rates among preschool children have been dropping. Kids who are overweight or have obesity are five times more likely to have obesity or become overweight as adults. This raises their risk for many chronic diseases and health issues.

Social Inequities:

Many social factors can increase the risk of obesity. Things like economic stability, social support, access to healthcare, education, safe housing, and transportation all play a role in health disparities. They can have a big impact on overall well-being and quality of life. For instance, living or working in areas with low incomes can mean limited access to affordable ways to stay active. Also, living in places where it’s hard to find affordable, healthy food called “food desserts” can raise the risk of obesity by up to 30%. This hits certain groups harder. The CDC says about 49.9% of Black adults have obesity, followed by Hispanic people at 45.6%, white people at 41.4% and Asian individuals at 16.1%.

Obesity and Chronic Diseases:

Although having obesity doesn’t automatically mean you’re experiencing or will experience health problems, it can raise your risk of several chronic conditions. These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Obesity might also lead to a lower quality of life including worse mental well-being. This could be because of the social stigma and discrimination that some people face. A study with over 10,000 adults found that having a bigger waist, waist to height ratio, or BMI was linked to a higher to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The study also found that people who gained the most weight or had the biggest increase in waist size over about 2.8 years were about 1.5 to 1.4 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Obesity and Diet:

The number of calories people in North America and Europe eat has been going up since 2000, reaching about 3540 per day in 2021, according to the United Nations (UN). When you eat more calories than your body burns, your body stores the extra energy as fat, which can lead to weight gain over time. But weight gain isn’t just about how many calories you eat. The quality of your food matters just as much if not more. Many modern foods are processed with lots of sodium, fat and sugar. They often have more calories than you need and are easier to digest which can make you gain weight. Eating foods high in refined starch and sugar can spike your insulin making you hungrier and leading you to eat more. A lot of processed foods also have artificial ingredients that might not be good for your health, but we’re not sure because they haven’t been tested enough.

Other Contributing Factors:

They believe that weight is mainly determined by what you eat and how much you exercise is a harmful stigma. It wrongly suggests that obesity is a result of moral weakness. In truth, many things can contribute to weight gain and obesity. This includes how well you sleep, the medications you take, other medical conditions you might have, and your genes. For instance, certain genes can affect hunger and appetite to eat more. Another example is Cushing syndrome, a condition where the body makes too much cortisol, causing weight gain.

How Does Obesity Affect the Body?

From 2017 to 2018, obesity affected over 40% of the U.S. population. People with obesity have a higher risk of developing a range of serious medical issues. These health problems can impact almost every part of the body, including:

  • Nervous system
  • Respiratory
  • Digestive system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Endocrine system
  • Reproductive system
  • Skeletal and muscular
  • Integumentary system
  • Mental health

Obesity is also linked to a greater risk of depression, low self-esteem, and body image concern. Other effects on the body:

  • Endometrial
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Colon
  • Cervical
  • Esophageal
  • Pancreatic
  • As your body mass index (BMI) goes up, your risk of developing cancer also increases.


Does lemon water burn fat?

There’s no evidence to suggest that lemon water has more benefits for weight loss than plain water. However, lemon juice is low in calories. Substituting sugary soda with fresh lemon water is a healthy way to cut down on calorie intake, which can help with weight management.

How to get a slim face?

  •  Try facial exercise
  • Increase your cardio and strength training exercise
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Be mindful of your carbohydrate intake
  • Ensure you get enough sleep
  • Monitor your sodium intake (salt)
  • Include more fiber and protein in your diet
  • Diversity your diet with a variety of nutritious foods.

How can I lose 2kg in a week?

Engaging in regular aerobic exercises like brisk, walking, jogging, or cycling can help burn calories and contribute to losing 2kg a week. It’s also important to include strength training to preserve muscle mass and enhance metabolism. Make sure to stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and manage stress for optimal results.

How to reduce waist size?

  • Keep a good journal to track your calorie intake
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, and more if possible
  • Include more protein and fiber in your diet
  • Cut down on added sugars in your meals and snacks
  • Ensures you get an adequate amount of sleep each night
  • Find ways to reduce stress in your daily life

Is rice good for weight loss?

Incorporating red rice into your diet plan can be beneficial for weight management. Red rice is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps keep you feeling full, reduces overall calorie intake, and controls hunger pangs. Additionally, red rice is free of fat and is often recommended by doctors to help lower cholesterol levels and promote weight loss.

How to get a jawline in 1 week?

One of the exercises considered effective for toning the jawline is the fish face exercise. To perform this exercise simply suck in your cheeks and lips to create a fish face shape. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then release and relax your face. Repeat this movement 10 times. 

How to gain weight on the face only?

It is not possible to target weight gain specifically in the face through natural means. However, overall weight gain can lead to a fuller facial appearance. Additionally, exercising the facial muscles can strengthen them, potentially giving the face a fuller look.

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