What is Obesity ?

What is obesity? How do I know if I am obese?

Obesity is a condition in which there is excess fat accumulation in the body. Obesity is commonly measured by body mass index (BMI) which calculates the relationship of weight to height. A person is considered obese if his or her BMI is above 25 according to Indian guidelines and above 30 according to WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines.

Obesity is considered to be a condition that can have adverse effects on one’s health and increases the risk of developing health problems such as heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and more. Weight loss can help in reducing the risk of developing these health problems.

What is “morbid obesity” or “clinically severe” obesity?

For an individual to be considered clinically severe or morbidly obese he or she must have a body mass index ( BMI) above 37.5 kg/m2 without health conditions or a BMI above 32.5 kg/m2 with obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Obesity Measurement: Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories such as underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. You can calculate your BMI as follows: weight (in kgs) divided by square of height (in meters) – Kg/m2

Obesity Classification for Indians

Overweight, obesity and morbid obesity are terms used to classify the range of weight that is greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. These terms also identify range of weight that has been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems. Your BMI helps you decide under which category your weight is.


Indian BMI values


23.0-24.9 kg/m2


>25 kg/m2

Morbidly obese

>32.5kg/m2with comorbidity

>37.5kg/m2without comorbidity

Why are so many people overweight or obese today?

There are a number of factors that influence overweight or obesity, including
Behaviour—eating too many calories while not getting enough physical activity.
Environment—home, work, school, or community can provide barriers to or opportunities for an active lifestyle.
Genetics—heredity plays a large role in determining how susceptible people are to overweight and obesity. Genes also influence how the body burns calories for energy or stores fat. Behavioural and environmental factors are the main contributors to overweight and obesity and provide the greatest opportunities for prevention and treatment.

Various weight-loss treatments available

The goal of overweight, obesity treatment is to reach and stay at a healthy weight. Here’s listing few of the weight loss options that one can opt for based on their BMI. Remember, all weight-loss programs require changes in your eating habits and increased physical activity.

  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise and activity
  • Behavior change
  • Prescription weight-loss medications
  • Weight-loss surgery

Discuss with your doctor to know the best weight loss option for you.

Diseases due to Obesity

Direct associations between obesity and the following diseases have been observed:

  •  Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  •  Hypertension
  •  Dyslipidemia
  •  Heart diseases
  •  Cerebrovascular disease
  •  Respiratory diseases (obstructive sleep apnoea, asthma)
  •  Gastrointestinal diseases
  •  Hepatobiliary disease
  •  Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  •  Osteoarthritis of weight bearing joints.
  •  Certain Cancers
  •  Depression
  •  Infertility/ PCOS/PCOD