The definition of an obese person is a person who has excess adipose tissue and a body mass index value of more than 30. BMI is an indicator that measures weight compared to height, as excess fatty tissue may have serious health consequences, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. and elevated levels of lipids in the blood.

Obesity is one of the most common medical conditions in Western society today and the most difficult in terms of obesity treatment and treatment. Relatively little progress has been made in treating obesity except for lifestyle changes, but much information has been collected regarding the medical consequences of obesity.


Symptoms of obesity

Obesity is diagnosed when the BMI is 30 or higher. To determine your BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in square meters. The following table shows your BMI:

Body condition BMI

Body state Body Mass Index
low weight less than 18.5
Normal weight 18.5 - 24.9
Weight 25 - 29.9
obesity 30 and above

For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. However, BMI does not directly measure body fat; So some people, such as muscular athletes, may have a BMI in the obese category despite not having excess body fat.

Causes and risk factors of obesity

The main causes of obesity include the following:

physical inactivity

Sedentary people burn fewer calories than active people, as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed a strong association between physical inactivity and weight gain in both sexes.


Overeating leads to weight gain, especially if the diet is high in fat.

Foods that are high in fat or sugar, such as fast food, fried foods, and sweets, have a high energy density, which is a lot of calories in a small amount of food.


A person is more likely to be obese if one or both parents are obese, as genetics also affects the hormones involved in regulating fat.

One of the genetic causes of obesity is a deficiency of leptin, which is a hormone produced in fat cells and the placenta. Leptin controls weight by sending signals to the brain to eat less when the body's fat stores are too high.

If for some reason the body cannot produce enough leptin or the leptin cannot signal the brain to eat less, this control is lost and obesity occurs.

Follow a diet rich in simple carbohydrates

The role of carbohydrates in weight gain is not clear, as carbohydrates increase blood glucose levels, which in turn stimulates the pancreatic secretion of insulin, which promotes the growth of adipose tissue and can cause weight gain.

Some scientists believe that simple carbohydrates, such as sugars, fructose, sweets, and soft drinks, contribute to weight gain. Because they are faster absorbed into the bloodstream than complex carbohydrates, such as: pasta, brown rice, grains, and vegetables.

Frequency of eating

The relationship between eating frequency and weight is somewhat controversial. There are many reports of overweight people eating less than people of normal weight.

Scientists have observed that people who eat small meals four or five times a day have lower cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels that are lower and more stable than people who eat less frequently, i.e. two or three large meals a day.

One possible explanation is that small, frequent meals produce stable insulin levels, whereas large meals cause a large spike in insulin after meals.


Medications associated with weight gain include some antidepressants, anticonvulsants, some diabetes medications, some hormones such as oral contraceptives, and most corticosteroids, such as prednisone.

Some high blood pressure medications and antihistamines cause weight gain. The cause of weight gain varies with remedies for each medication. If this is a concern for you, you should discuss your medications with your doctor rather than discontinuing the medication. Because this may have profound effects.

psychological factors

For some people, emotions affect eating habits, as many people eat excessively in response to feelings such as: boredom, sadness, stress, or anger, while most overweight people do not suffer from psychological disorders more than Those with normal weight.

About 30% of people who seek treatment for serious weight problems experience difficulties with binge eating.


Hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, PCOS, and Cushing's syndrome also contribute to obesity.

Social issues

There is a link between social problems and obesity. Lack of money to buy healthy foods or a lack of safe places to walk or exercise can increase the risk of obesity.

Complications of obesity

The most prominent complications include the following:

Heart disease and strokes

Obesity makes you more likely to have high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Type 2 diabetes

Obesity can affect the way your body uses insulin to control your blood sugar levels. This increases your risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes.

Certain types of cancer

Obesity may increase the risk of uterine, cervical, and endometrial cancers, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer. rectum, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, gallbladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney, and prostate cancer.

Digestive problems

Obesity increases your risk of heartburn, gallbladder disease, and liver problems.

Gynecological and sexual problems

Obesity may cause infertility and irregular menstruation in women. Obesity can also cause erectile dysfunction in men.

Sleep Apnea

People who are obese are more likely to develop sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep.

Severe symptoms of COVID-19

Obesity increases the risk of severe symptoms if you become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. People with severe cases of COVID-19 may need treatment in intensive care units or even medical assistance to breathe.

Obesity Diagnosis

Diagnostic methods include:

1. Health History

Your doctor reviews your weight, weight-loss efforts, physical activity, exercise habits, eating patterns, appetite, other conditions that have caused you problems, medications, stages of stress, and other issues related to your health.

2. General physical examination

Your height is measured, vital signs such as: your heartbeat, blood pressure, and temperature are checked, the beat of your heart and lungs are listened to, and your abdomen is also examined.

3. Measure your waistline

Fat stored around the waist called visceral or belly fat, increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Women with a waist circumference of more than 89 cm and men with a waist measurement of more than 102 cm may be exposed to more health risks than people with smaller waist measurements, such as BMI measurement, as you should check your waist circumference at least once a year.

4. Blood tests

The tests you undergo depend on your health, risk factors, and any current symptoms you may be experiencing. These include blood tests, cholesterol tests, liver function tests, thyroid tests, and others.

Obesity treatment

The main treatment methods are:

1. Exercise

Exercise is essential for maintaining weight loss and treating obesity in the long term. Physical activity increases the body's calorie expenditure.

Exercising alone leads to very little weight loss, and the main advantage of exercising is that it helps maintain weight loss over time. Today it is recommended to engage in moderate physical activity for an hour a day.

2. Pharmacological treatment of obesity

In terms of pharmacological treatment, very few prescription obesity medications have been approved or recommended to promote weight loss. Medications are recommended as part of an overall treatment program and not as the only means of treating obesity and weight loss.

Medicines have many side effects, such as:

  • dry mouth
  • holding.
  • Dizziness
  • insomnia.
  • Diarrhea.

The occurrence of various disorders in the digestive system.

3. Surgical treatment

Obese people whose BMI is more than 40 can undergo various stomach surgeries that lead to weight loss.

However, weight loss, which is estimated at about 50% of the initial weight of the patient, is associated with serious side effects and complications of the surgery, such as:

  • Infection of the peritoneum
  • Stones in the bile duct.
  • Deficiency of various vitamins.
  • Obesity prevention

Among the most important methods of prevention are the following:

  • Eat five small meals a day.
  • Avoid processed foods.
  • Reduce your sugar consumption.
  • Reducing the use of artificial sweeteners.
  • Avoid saturated fats.
  • Cook food at home.
  • Try a vegan diet.


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