General or Other | Fitness & Sports Medicine | Obesity (Symptom)


Obesity is generally a chronic condition defined by a quantity of excess body fat. A certain amount of body fat is necessary for storing energy, heat insulation, shock absorption, and other functions. The normal amount of body fat (expressed as percentage of body fat) is between 25% -30% in women and 18% -23% in men. Women with more than 30% body fat and men with body fat over 25% are considered obese.

Calculating the body mass index (BMI) has also been used in the description of obesity. The body mass index (BMI) is equal to a persons weight in kilograms (kg) divided by your height in meters (m) squared. Since the BMI describes body weight relative to height, it is strongly correlated with total body fat content in adults. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or more.


Obesity develops gradually from poor diet and lifestyle choices and, to some extent, it can be inherited genetically. Lifestyle choices are an important factor in influencing weight. Eating more calories than one needs may be down to unhealthy food choices. Lack of physical activity is another important factor that is related to obesity. Some genetic conditions can increase appetite as well as medical conditions such as Cushing's syndrome (rare disorder that causes an over-production of steroid hormones), an under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or polycystic ovary syndrome.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The best way to treat obesity is to reduce the amount of calories in the daily diet and to exercise regularly. The type of diet and exercise that will benefit each person, and that one can follow safely, will vary from person to person. The General Practitioner should be consulted before making any significant changes in lifestyle.