What is Obesity? Know Reasons and Threats


According to the WHO guidelines, obesity or overweight is a condition where excess fat gets accumulated on the body. A body fat percentage of more than 20% means you’re obese or overweight. A new survey implies over 2 billion people across the globe are obese. In India, 15% of women between the age of 18-45 and 9% of men are obese.

Obesity poses many threats to an individual’s body as:

1. Cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, artery blockage, stroke)

2. Shortness of breath, breathing problems

3. Diabetes

4. Certain types of cancers(breast, lung, kidney, ovarian)

5. Lack of proper diet

6. A sitting job that allows less or no physical activity

7. Junk food costs being cheaper and more manageable than a healthy homemade meal

8. Busy schedule with no time to take care of your physical health

Most people believe that obesity is a choice. Obese people are lazy who are indifferent to their bad dietary choices. Although our diet and physical inactivity have an influential role in our body’s health, it isn’t always the case.

Here are the reasons why obesity is not always a choice:

1. Genetics plays a huge role

People with a history of obesity in their families are predisposed to weight gain in their life. Some studies show that overweight women during pregnancy will give birth to children more susceptible to weight gain.

2. Medication

Certain conditions such as hypertension, PCOS, mental health disorders require regular prescribed medication. Drugs such as antidepressants or birth control have significant side effects such as weight gain, increased appetite, or disturbed metabolism. All these factors are serious and can make a person obese even with regular exercise and dietary restrictions.

3. Environment and poor nutrition knowledge

For many, healthier food options are not feasible. The lack of knowledge about what we consume daily is another factor responsible. Today we see many companies promoting their products as the healthier alternative. There is no proper education about nutrition or balanced diets presented in schools. People fall for the scams of corporates masquerading as healthful.

4. Leptin resistance

Although not backed by science, research has shown Leptin resistance in the cells of obese people. Leptin is an enzyme that regulates how our body burns fat as well as calories. Leptin resistance causes our minds to feel hungry faster than our bodies can burn, leading to weight gain.

Obesity is a disease not necessarily caused by the actions of the individual. 

Treating people dealing with obesity unfairly without knowing the underlying causes can be damaging to their mental well-being. The way forward to tackling the rising problem of obesity in the urban population is awareness regarding nutrition, the importance of exercising, and better treatment options with minimal side effects.