Obesity – What Is It?

The medical world describes the cause of obesity as follows: “An increase in body fat (both visceral and nonvisceral (subcutaneous) requires that energy intake be increased over energy expenditure.” This short description is followed by a lengthy “however” and is destined for doctors who are trained to understand what is written.

In short, obesity has many causes, among which are included genetic disorders, gland disorders, hormonal disorders and metabolism disorders, only to name a few. Suffice it to say that if you want to find the real reason for your obesity, you will need to consult a medical doctor.

The general opinion on obesity could also be summed up as: “people who don’t look that great anymore”, but this is only a popular point of view, trust me I know, I used to be obese. Obesity is a real epidemic, a disease of enormous proportions that is spreading fast all over the world.

The extra mass caused by overweight has many consequences, adding a heavy risk index on the obese person’s survival chances. Having to heave the extra weight, the individual is also less inclined to be physically active, which set in motion a vicious circle causing an aggravation of the problem.

The added weight also puts extra strain on the body’s joints and bones, causing all sorts of discomfort and aches. Often early arthritis set in. In most cases, obesity is caused by consistently eating the wrong type of food, which leads to having much higher cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. This in turn impairs the correct functioning of heart and blood vessels, which can result in high blood pressure and heart failure.

The important layers of added fatty tissue are also the cause of another problem: apnea, or the cessation of breathing during sleep. As the muscles around the throat and neck completely relax during the first phases of deeper sleep, the weight of the fatty tissues causes the throat to collapse, blocking the flow of air. This breaks the cycle of natural recuperation, adding more problems to those already present.

Obesity is associated with many medical problems, most of which improve with weight loss. Both men and women suffering from obesity are at increased risk for the following:

Reduced life expectancy

Diabetes mellitus


Hypertension (high blood pressure)


Coronary heart disease

Abnormal blood lipids


Sleep apnea

Cancer (colon and prostate cancer in men; uterine and gallbladder cancer in women)

Nowadays, most professionals will measure obesity according to Quetelet’s BMI, or Body Mass Index.

It is named after the Belgian scientist, Adolphe Quetelet who invented the method. The BMI is a measurement technique producing a value which takes into consideration a person’s height, gender and weight. It is compared to a chart which is obtained by applying statistics (which implies it was defined only after making a very large number of measurements) so that the results are put in evidence in relation to an average.

The BMI is calculated from a person’s height and weight as follows:

BMI = body weight (in kilograms) / height (in meters) squared.

A BMI between 25 and 30 kg/m2 is considered overweight.

A BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 is considered to be obese.

A waist circumference greater than 35 inches (88 cm) in women and 40 inches (102 cm) in men indicates that there is an excessive amount of fat in the abdominal area.

There are many BMI calculators online, you will find one easily by doing an online search

for the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” or by typing “BMI calculator”.

Obesity is causing the world economy to lose billions of dollars every year.