What Is Obesity?

Nowadays, the percentage of obesity has intensely risen in the last decades. However, not many people are fully aware of this disease as well as its causes or effects on their daily life. Having basic knowledge about obesity is the best way to live a healthier life and also help people around you to do that.

What is obesity

Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is not just a cosmetic concern. More severely, it is a medical problem that might lead to other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer.

To simplified, if you want to know whether someone is obese or not, If a person’s body weight is 20% higher than normal or above, he or she can be considered obese.

To be more scientific, there are several scales to identify obesity.

1. BMI (Body Mass Index)

Body mass index (BMI) a value derived from the mass (weight) and height of a person. The BMI is defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body height and is universally expressed in units of kg/m2, resulting from mass in kilograms and height in meters.

The BMI is the most popular and convenient scale used to broadly categorize a person as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese based on tissue mass (muscle, fat, and bone) and height. Commonly accepted BMI ranges are underweight (under 18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (18.5 to 25), overweight (25 to 30), and obese (over 30).

BMIs under 20 and over 25 have been associated with higher all-cause mortality, with the risk increasing with distance from the 20–25 range.

2. BAI (Body Adiposity Index)

The body adiposity index (BAI) is an alternative for BMI. It is also a method of estimating the amount of body fat in humans. The BAI is calculated without using bodyweight, unlike the BMI. Instead, it uses the size of the hips compared to the person’s height.

Based on population studies, the BAI is approximately equal to the percentage of body fat for adult men and women of differing ethnicities

3. Waist Circumference Measurement

It is the old fashioned tape measure that anybody can do at home. However, it still can be effective. Just by measuring the natural waist, you can get a good indication of the amount of abdominal fat you are carrying. Knowing the circumference of your waist can help determine your risk of getting heart disease and other medical conditions.

According to physicians, the following figures indicate individuals in the ‘at risk’ group: women with a waist circumference of 35 inches and over and men with a waist circumference of 40 inches and over. Also, you can count the ratio between your waist and your hip, if the ratio is over 1 so you are obese.

4. Hydrostatic weighing

Hydrostatic weighing is a technique for measuring the density of a living person’s body. It is a direct application of Archimedes’ principle, that an object displaces its own volume of water.

Once body density has been calculated from the data obtained by hydrostatic/underwater weighing, body composition can be estimated. Therefore, we can count the percentage of fat in our body.

Causes of obesity


Obesity is caused simply because of eating too much. If you consume high amounts of energy, particularly fat and sugars, but do not burn off the energy through exercise and physical activity, much of the surplus energy will be stored by the body as fat. Nowadays, fast food can be one of the main reasons why many people being obese. The unhealthy diet with too much fast food consumed made the risk of obesity increase rapidly in recent days.

Fast food or also known as junk food is mostly processed foods exceedingly high in calories, low in nutrients and usually containing harmful synthetic chemicals. Therefore, if it is consumed consistently and over a period of time, can easily cause one to put on the weight that in the long run would easily cross the ‘obese’ border.

An inactive lifestyle

Diet is one of the biggest causes of obesity. However, if you consume a large amount of sugar but still have effective exercise, you might not be obese. However, if you sit at your desk the whole day – and week; you are certainly looking for trouble and very soon, you will either find out that you are either obese or at least, overweight.

The explanation for this is simple and quite straightforward: if you stock energy (by way of food) more than you burn it (by way of exercise), certainly, the excess will be accumulated inside your body.


Besides our own reasons which might lead to obesity such as our diets or exercises, family reasons also matter. Studies suggest that genetics contribute to 40-70% of obesity with the discovery of more than 50 genes that are strongly associated with obesity.

If your family is naturally predisposed to being obese, sadly, you are likely to also become obese, even if the food you take are the same other friends of similar age or the exercises you do areas regularly as them.

20163284 – the word obesity in red letters hidden within a blue dna strand to illustrate the hereditary nature of fat and the condition of being very heavy

In this situation, be sure that you get proper treatment from doctors. Maybe you should do exercises more than people and eat healthier.


People with depression or anxiety may experience weight gain or weight loss due to their condition or the medications that treat them. Depression and anxiety can both be associated with overeating, poor food choices, and a more sedentary lifestyle. Over time, weight gain may eventually lead to obesity.

About 43 percent of adults with depression are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And they say adults who’ve been diagnosed with depression are more likely to be overweight than those who haven’t. Likewise, children who are depressed often have a higher BMI than children who aren’t. In one 2002 study, they found that children who were depressed were more likely to become obese by the time researchers’ followed up one year later.

Many people think that it is just because of their lifestyle which leads to obesity, however, this cause is more severe than they think. Depression, if not worked upon could lead to chronic obesity and in the long run, pose more harm than just harmful deposits of fats in the human body.

Other diseases

In our daily life, many diseases can lead to others. Diseases such as hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, types 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancers are also contributors to obesity and vice versa.

How to deal with obesity yourself at home

If you’re confirmed obese by checking with those methods above, or after going to the doctors, you should speak to your general practitioner for advice about losing weight safely. Your general practitioner can advise you about losing weight safely by eating a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity. They can also let you know about other useful services.

If you have underlying problems associated with obesity, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnoea, your general practitioner may recommend further tests or specific treatment. In some cases, they may refer you to a specialist.

The treatment by them is necessary, but you can also deal with it at home by some of the following ways to make everything a little better.

Do exercises

Obesity results from energy imbalance: too many calories in, too few calories burned. And the easiest way to burn calories is your daily activity. Despite all the health benefits of physical activity, people worldwide are still ignoring exercise, even at work, at home, and as they travel from place to place. As one research, globally, about one in three people gets little, if any, physical activity.

That is the worse fact, because exercise is really the most effective in the prevention of obesity, it can also contribute to weight loss and to weight maintenance over the long term. There are many types of sports all around our world such as football, basketball, gymnastics, cycling, swimming, walking, … you should take part in one of them. You do not have to do intense exercises, just do it about 30 minutes to one hour per day and it will get you a lot better.

Not only your body becomes healthier but also your mood will increase considerably because when you do exercises, the happy hormone will be released to make your mood better. Therefore, doing exercises will be healthy for both your mental and physical health.

Accumulate knowledge about obesity

Nowadays, there are many different sources of knowledge such as the Internet, books, newspapers… So how to know what is the best source?

  • Finding knowledge about obesity on the Internet: Many people would like to check the information on websites. If you do so, you should check the websites of trustworthy medical or healthcare companies or organizations or journals such as WHO, National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic,…
  • Finding knowledge about obesity through books: If you think the Internet has such a wide range of knowledge so you do not know what should be trusted, then you can go to the libraries or bookstores to find some well-known medical books concentrating on obesity. They should be books written by famous doctors or professors in this field or scientific magazines which many people read and find trustworthy.

If you cannot find the right information about obesity, or find the wrong information, it would be very dangerous for you. So be careful. You should ask people who already read the books.

Change your diet

A healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as non-communicable diseases, including such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Actually, healthy dietary practices have already started early in life – breastfeeding fosters healthy growth and improves cognitive development, and may have longer-term health benefits such as reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing many diseases later in life.

There are many diets made for losing weight. However, in general, it should have some similarities and standards:

  • Energy intake (calories) should be in balance with energy expenditure. To avoid unhealthy weight gain, total fat should not exceed 30% of total energy intake.
  • Intake of saturated fats should be less than 10% of total energy intake, and intake of trans-fats less than 1% of total energy intake, with a shift in fat consumption away from saturated fats and trans-fats to unsaturated fats, and towards the goal of eliminating industrially-produced trans-fats.
  • Limiting the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake is part of a healthy diet. A further reduction to less than 5% of total energy intake is suggested for additional health benefits.
  • Keeping salt intake to less than 5 g per day (equivalent to sodium intake of less than 2 g per day) helps to prevent hypertension, and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke in the adult population.

WHO the Member States have agreed to reduce the global population’s intake of salt by 30% by 2025; they have also agreed to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity in adults and adolescents as well as in childhood overweight by 2025.

To be specific, there is some low carbs menu that many people recommend and already be successful in losing weight and regaining a healthy body: Low-carb rice, Low-carb potato, Low-carb bread,…

In conclusion, obesity is not a simple problem, it is a growing global health problem and many people are still struggling with it. However, after knowing basic knowledge about obesity, maybe you will have a certain confidence to help yourself or other people to care about their bodies. If you are not obese, you should be careful and keep yourself fit like now. If you are already obese, I hope that you will find the best way to deal with it and will get better.


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