Obesity: Causes, Complications and Diagnosis

Obesity: Causes, Complications and Diagnosis

What is Obesity

Obesity is a medical condition that occurs when one carries excess fat to an extent  that it may have an adverse effect on health. This is also called Overweight. Being overweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. Body Mass Index (BMI) can be used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

Being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight. Such health problems include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

What causes obesity?  

Eating more calories than you burn in daily activity and exercise (on a long-term basis) causes obesity. Over time, these extra calories add up and cause you to gain weight.

Although, being overweight does not entirely depend on how much you eat. There are other factors that can make one put on excess weight. These include:

  • Genetics 

Your genes may affect the amount of body fat you store, and where that fat is distributed. Genes may also play a role in how one’s body can effectively burn calories and convert food to energy when working. Children of obese parents are much more likely to become obese than children of lean parents.

  • Inactivity

When you are not very active, you are at a high risk of being obese. This is because you cannot burn as much calories to keep you healthy and in shape. People who sit all day working or sleep a lot without any exercise might put on more weight.

  • Environmental factors

Your environment at home, at school, and in your community, can all influence how and what you eat and how active you are. Maybe you haven’t learned to cook healthy meals or don’t think you can afford healthier foods. If your neighborhood is unsafe, maybe you haven’t found a good place to play, walk, or run.

  • Unhealthy Meals

Eating too much junk foods can cause overweight. Also,  diet that’s high in calories, lacking in fruits and vegetables, full of fast food, and laden with high-calorie beverages and over-sized portions contributes to weight gain.

  • Not having enough sleep

Sleep is very important in our lives. Research has suggested that missing sleep increases the risk of gaining weight and developing obesity. Sleep deprivation may lead to obesity because it can lead to hormonal changes that increase the appetite.

  • Some Medications

There are some medications that can make you gain more weight especially when you are not a very active person. These medications include some antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, diabetes medications, antipsychotic medications, steroids and beta blockers.

  • Medical problems

Medical problems, such as arthritis, also can lead to decreased activity, which may result in weight gain.


During pregnancy, most women put on weight. Some do struggle to loose this weight after they have given birth.

  • Age

As we grow old, we become more inactive, our metabolism rate decreases and we tend to gain more weight.


Complications of Obesity

Obesity can lead to other potentially serious health problems. Health problems associated with being overweight are:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer, including cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovaries, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney and prostate
  • Metabolic syndrome — a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Erectile dysfunction and sexual health issues
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gynecological problems, such as infertility and irregular periods
  • Metabolic syndrome — a combination of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol

It is advisable to live a healthy life to avoid all these problems.


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