Obesity: Symptoms & Causes

Obesity is a prevalent medical condition characterized by an excessive accumulation of body fat, leading to an increased risk of various health complications such as elevated blood glucose and blood pressure levels, and cardiovascular diseases, among others.

The reduction of excess body fat can significantly enhance overall health outcomes. Even a modest weight reduction can profoundly impact an individual's health status.

Classification of Obesity:

Healthcare professionals categorize obesity into three distinct classes based on the body mass index (BMI), a measurement that compares an individual's weight to their height. However, it's crucial to note that BMI has inherent limitations but serves as an indicator for obesity-related health issues.

The three classes of obesity, aiding healthcare providers in tailoring specific treatment strategies, are as follows:

       Grade 1: BMI  25 to 29.35 kg/m²

       Class II: BMI 30 to 34.9 kg/m²

       Class III: BMI >35 kg/m²

Overweight: 23- 24.9 kg/m²

Obesity: Symptoms and Diagnosis:

Obesity generally does not manifest specific symptoms, and its diagnosis typically relies on clinical assessments such as:

       BMI exceeding 25 kg/m²

       Accumulation of excessive abdominal fat surpassing other body areas

       Waist circumference exceeding 90 cm in men or 80 cm in women.

Causes and Risk Factors:

The development of obesity is multifactorial, involving genetic, behavioural, metabolic, and hormonal factors. However, the primary cause is an imbalance between caloric intake and expenditure, resulting in weight gain over time. Several risk factors contribute to this imbalance:

       Consumption of fast food and junk food high in sugar, saturated fats, and low in essential nutrients

       Intake of sugary foods and beverages leading to calorie surplus

       Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression trigger binge eating

       Hormonal imbalances affecting hunger and satiety signals

       Certain medications like antidepressants and diabetes drugs cause weight gain as a side effect

       A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity

       Ageing-related hormonal changes and reduced activity levels

       Weight gain during pregnancy and postpartum challenges in weight management

       Sleep disturbances affecting appetite-regulating hormones

       Stress-induced eating habits leading to calorie excess

       Gut microbiota composition influencing weight regulation

Complications Associated with Obesity:

Obesity predisposes individuals to various serious health complications, including:

       Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and dyslipidemia

       Type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance

       Gastrointestinal issues like gastroesophageal reflux disease and gallbladder disease

       Joint problems including osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain

       Respiratory disorders like sleep apnea

       Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver cirrhosis

       Increased risk of various cancers including breast, colon, and prostate cancer


Obesity represents a chronic health concern characterized by excess body fat deposition, contributing to multiple health risks. Lifestyle modifications, including dietary adjustments, physical activity, and medications, are essential in managing and preventing obesity. Surgical interventions and lifestyle changes may also be considered in severe cases to improve overall health outcomes.