Obesity Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Facts

Obesity Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Facts

What is Obesity

Obesity is a chronic disease defined as the increase in size and amount of fat cells in the body. It can be mainly associated with a higher risk of gaining overweight, developing cardiovascular diseases, reduction in the quality of life, and an increase in mortality.


Obesity Definition

The WHO (World Health Organization) (1) defines obesity as an abnormal accumulation of fat that can be detrimental to health.

Body mass index (BMI) is the main indicator used to measure the index of obesity. To calculate BMI, multiply weight in pounds by 703, divide by height in inches, and then divide again by height in inches or you can divide weight in kilograms by height in meters squared


Obesity Chart


BMI (Kg/m2)
Less than 18.5 Underweight
Between 18.5 - 25.0 Normal Weight
Between 25.0 - 30.0 Over Weight
Between 30.0 - 35.0 Class 1 Obesity
Between 35.0 - 40.0 Class 2 Obesity
40.0 or over Morbid Obesity or Class 3 Obesity 


Underweight: BMI less than 18.5 kg/m2

BMI of less than <18.5 indicates that you are underweight, so you may need to put on some weight. You are advised to ask your doctor or a dietitian for advice.


Normal Weight: BMI range between 18.5–24.9 kg/m2

A BMI range of 18.5-24.9 indicates that you have a healthy weight according to your height. You lower your risk of developing serious health problems by maintaining a healthy weight.


Overweight: BMI range between 25–29.9 kg/m2

A BMI range of 25-29.9 indicates that you are slightly overweight. You may be advised to lose some weight for health reasons. You are advised to talk to your doctor or a dietitian for advice.


Obesity Definition BMI over 30 kg/m2

A BMI of over 30 indicates that you are heavily overweight. Your health may be at risk if you do not lose weight. You are advised to talk to your doctor or a dietitian for advice.


What is Morbid Obesity BMI

A BMI of over 40 indicates that you have Morbid Obesity or Class 3 type of obesity which is extremely dangerous. You are advised to talk to your doctor or a dietitian for advice.



Check your current BMI using our BMI Calculator

Abdominal Obesity

Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist circumference of more than 102 cm (40 inches) in men and more than 88 cm (35 inches) in women according to International Diabetes Federation for Asian Population (IDF).


Symptoms of Obesity

The most obvious symptom is the increase in weight, therefore the symptoms that may be presented arise from this increase in weight, among others are :

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Back and/or joint pains
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Infections in skin folds
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • The feeling of shortness of breath


Adult Obesity Symptoms

Common symptoms of obesity in adults include

  • Excess body fat, particularly around the waist
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating more than usual
  • SnoringTrouble sleeping
  • Skin problems from moisture accumulating in the folds
  • Inability to perform simple physical tasks you could easily perform before weight gain
  • Fatigue, which can range from mild to extreme
  • Pain, especially in the back and joints
  • Psychological issues such as negative self-esteem, depression, shame, and social isolation


Childhood Obesity Symptoms

Common childhood obesity symptoms may include
  • Fatty tissue deposits (may be noticeable in the breast area)
  • Stretch marks on the hips and back
  • Acanthosis nigricans (dark velvety skin around the neck and other areas)
  • Shortness of breath with physical activity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Constipation Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Early puberty in biological females/delayed puberty in biological malesOrthopedic problems, such as flat feet or dislocated hips



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2) says the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. has tripled in the last 50 years. In 2020, nearly 20% of American children and adolescents (ages 2 to 19) were considered obese.

What raises the risk of obesity

  • Genetics
  • Health conditions
  • Lack of physical activity
  • High amounts of stress
  • Unhealthy eating behaviors
  • Medicines
  • Your surrounding environment


When to see a doctor

If you're really concerned about your overweight or weight-related health problems, try to ask your doctor about obesity management and prevention. You along with your doctor can evaluate your health risks related to obesity and discuss your weight-loss options according to your diet and body type.


Obesity Complications

People with obesity are more likely to develop a number of potentially serious health problems, including

  • 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 strokes.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Obesity can affect the way the body uses insulin to control blood sugar levels. This raises the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Certain cancers. Obesity may increase the risk of cancer of the uterus, cervix, endometrium, ovary, breast, colon, rectum, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, and prostate.
  • Digestive problems. Obesity increases the likelihood of developing heartburn, gallbladder disease, and liver problems.
  • Sleep apnea. People with obesity are more likely to have sleep apnea, a potentially serious disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep.
  • Osteoarthritis. Obesity increases the stress placed on weight-bearing joints, in addition to promoting inflammation within the body. These factors may lead to complications such as osteoarthritis.
  • Severe COVID-19 symptoms. Obesity increases the risk of developing severe symptoms if you become infected with the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). People who have severe cases of COVID-19 may require treatment in intensive care units or even mechanical assistance to breathe.

Diagnosis Of Obesity

The obesity diagnosis is based on the physical examination and medical history of the patient. If the calculation of the BMI is greater than 30 kg/m2, it’ll give the exact intensity factor in order to determine the severity of the obesity. The below stages can help in the diagnosis of obesity.

  • Physical examination
  • Clinical history
  • Blood analysis and imaging tests


Obesity icd 10

Here are some codes used for Obesity ICD 10.

 E66  Overweight and Obesity
 E66.01  Morbid Obesity due to excess calories
 E66.02  Morbid Obesity with alveolar hypoventilation
 E66.3  Overweight



The U.S. developed a Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) for medical diagnoses based on WHO's ICD-10 and CMS developed a new Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS).

Obesity Treatment

The initial treatment of obesity includes changes in eating habits and an increase in physical exercise. Weight losses of at least 5-10% in a period of 6 months improve and control the appearance of other diseases (comorbidities) associated with obesity.

  • Regular Your Diet
  • Reduce the calorie supply
  • Choose healthier foods
  • Plan meals
  • Limit high-calorie foods
  • Plan physical exercise
  • Reduce sedentarism
  • Gastric bypass Surgery
  • Tubular gastrectomy Surgery
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Obesity FAQ

What is morbid obesity?

Morbid obesity is a chronic health condition in which there is some serious health problems developed when your body mass index (BMI) higher than 40.

What Causes Obesity?

10 most common causes of obesity

  1. Family inheritance and influences
  2. Genetics Factors
  3. Unhealthy Diet
  4. Certain diseases and medications
  5. Your Age & Sex
  6. Lack of sleep
  7. Liquid Calories
  8. Social and economic issues
  9. Stress
  10. Microbiome

What is the definition of obesity?

According to World Health Organization (WHO)

"Obesity is an abnormal accumulation of fat that can be detrimental to health."

Obesity is a chronic disease defined as an increment in the amount of fat cells and body size. It can be mainly associated with a higher risk of gaining overweight, developing cardiovascular diseases, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life.

How many people die from obesity each year?

According to a WHO, report Obesity is taking around 2.80 million lives every year as Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally result of being overweight or obese.

How do I control obesity?

10 Best Steps for Obesity Prevention

  1. Take more protein and fewer carbohydrates in food
  2. Plan physical exercise
  3. Reduce sedentarism
  4. Regular Your Diet
  5. Reduce the calorie supply
  6. Choose healthier foods
  7. Good sleep
  8. Eating only when hungry
  9. Plan meals
  10. Physical examination
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