When did society start to normalize obesity?

Obesity (Obesity): That's Why It's So Dangerous!

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Obesity (or obesity) is a widespread disease and describes severe or pathological obesity. Obesity is particularly dangerous because increasing weight also increases the risk of obesity-related diseases.

In this article you will learn what obesity is exactly, what causes are responsible and which treatments really promise success.

The most important things in a nutshell:
  • From a body mass index (BMI) of 30, one speaks of obesity.
  • Possible causes: unhealthy lifestyle, hereditary factors, metabolic diseases or eating disorders.
  • 80% of obese people suffer from type 2 diabetes.

Table of contents

What does obesity mean?

The term obesity comes from Latin and stands for obesity or obesity. It is a metabolic disease associated with being very overweight.

The disease is considered chronic and can serious complications trigger. Because the increased accumulation of fat in the body is related to unhealthy eating behavior, it can also be referred to as a nutritional disease.

The life of obese people can be severely limited due to their physical size.

From a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg / m², overweight people are considered obese.

The BMI is subject to the definition of the World Health Organization (WHO). There are three different degrees of severity, which are determined by the body mass index. The waist circumference and the waist-to-hip ratio play a role here.

As a rule, the life expectancy of obese people is not very high. Adults as well as children and adolescents can be very overweight.

What are the levels of obesity?

The body mass index determines the degree of obesity. The body mass index is divided as follows:

  • <18,5:Underweight
  • 18,5 — 24,9:Normal weight
  • 25,0 — 29,9:Overweight (pre-obesity)
  • 30,0 — 34,9:Grade 1 obesity
  • 35,0 — 39,9:Grade 2 obesity
  • >40,0:Grade 3 obesity

Accordingly, there are three degrees of severity and a preliminary stage, which is called pre-obesity. The individual levels are discussed in more detail below.


The preliminary stage of pre-obesity has a body mass index value between 25 and 29.9 kg / m². Although the risk of a secondary disease is classified as slightly increased, the risk should not be underestimated. This is related to the waist size. Even if this may be less than 30 kg / m² for women, a circumference of 88 cm for women and 102 cm for men is possible.

The blood circulation and the blood vessel system can be disturbed. If the percentage of belly fat is increased, medicine speaks of abdominal obesity. Here there is a risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

Grade I and II

If there is grade I and grade II, the BMI value ranges between 30 and 34.9 kg / m² (grade I) and 35 kg / m² to just under 40 kg / m² (grade II). The German Obesity Society rates the risk of secondary diseases as high.

Grade III

From a BMI value of 40 kg / m² there is a serious form of obesity, which is called obesity permagna or morbid obesity. The realization of secondary illnesses is very likely here.

Already knew?

Even if the BMI is in the normal range, obesity may be present. In order to determine such abdominal obesity, the waist circumference is measured. According to the WHO, this is the case with:

  • Women with a waist circumference of> 88 cm
  • Men with a waist circumference of> 102 cm

Causes: How does obesity arise?

Obesity can have several causes. A combination of several factors often leads to obesity that is dangerous to health.

Possible factors include:

  • Lifestyle (Diet, exercise)
  • Hereditary factors
  • Metabolic diseases (Hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, ...)
  • Mental illness (Eating disorders)
  • Musculoskeletal disorders and consequent lack of exercise
  • Certain drugs (Cortisone, ...)

Diet and physical inactivity

Many people suffer from obesity due to a high-calorie diet. However, they are not necessarily obese. Even if there is a lack of exercise, it does not necessarily mean that obesity is present.

If the disease is present, several different causes can be intertwined. What is certain is that it is not about foods containing calories per se, but about the composition of their nutrients.

Genetic causes

The tendency to become overweight in life can be inherited. A certain constellation of genes leads to less energy consumption. The metabolism is not consuming what it should.

The result: Obesity. A disorder in certain brain regions can also be responsible for the disturbed eating behavior. A disorder of the hypothalamus in the brain can lead to an increased feeling of hunger.

Behavioral psychological factors

Even children can be overweight. This may be due to the environment in which they grow up. Eating habits are also related to the formation that falls into childhood and adolescence.

The correct handling of food has to be learned. This is not the case in every family. The body needs breaks to eat in order to maintain a healthy feeling of hunger and a natural rhythm. Permanent access to sweets disrupts normal eating habits.

What are the health risks associated with obesity?

Certain secondary diseases are predestined for obesity:

About 80% of people suffering from obesity suffer from type 2 diabetes. Blood sugar rises due to increased food intake.

But obesity also causes other things to happen in the body. Excess body fat doesn't just mean extra weight. Fat cells are active cells and intervene in our metabolism. For example, fat cells (Adipocytes) the hormone “leptin”.

Leptin actually serves to regulate appetite and makes you feel full. However, if the leptin concentration in the body is greatly increased, as in people with obesity, “leptin resistance” occurs.

The hormone can no longer have an appetite suppressant effect and those affected report that there is little or no feeling of satiety. The danger: The weight continues to increase.

Are men or women affected more often?

The results of the 13th DGE nutrition report (German Nutrition Society) show an increase in overweight people.

Men lead the way with 59%, followed by women with 37%. In the age of digitalization, the tendency among overweight boys and girls is also increasing.

The thickest nations?

Anyone who thinks the USA is in first place is wrong. The Pacific Islands are among the thickest countries in the world. The first three places occupy:

  • 1. American Samoa
  • 2. Nauru
  • 3. Cook Islands

Treatment: what to do about obesity?

In order to be able to carry out a successful therapy, the reasons for the disease should first be determined. If lifestyle or genetic factors are the cause, a tailored change in diet and sufficient exercise can help.

Since the most important thing is to seek long-term change to avoid relapse, it can be useful to seek outside help. For this purpose there are nutritional counseling and groups, coaching and much more.

If learned behavioral patterns such as “eating into yourself” problems or even eating disorders are the causes, therapy should be considered.

Behavioral therapy can achieve good results here. In severe cases there is also the option of inpatient therapies, which are about “relearning” how to deal with stressful situations and eating habits.

Operative treatment options

A stomach reduction can help if you are obese. Although this surgical procedure is associated with risks, it can actually help. The reduction in size of the stomach means that the feeling of fullness sets in earlier.

In the sleeve stomach, eighty to ninety percent of the stomach is removed. The stomach is called a sleeve stomach because a tube-like residue is left over. With gastric bypass, the surgeon cuts off a piece of the stomach. He connects the rest with a loop of the small intestine.

A gastric band can also help. This consists of a silicone tape that is placed around the top of the stomach. The separation creates a forestomach, which leads to an early feeling of satiety and therefore stops hunger in good time.

There is also the gastric balloon, which is inserted into the stomach. It is made of either silicone or plastic. This creates an artificial feeling of satiety in the stomach.

FAQ: Questions and answers about obesity

When does obesity begin?

From a body mass index (BMI) of 30 we speak of obesity or obesity. From a BMI of 25, one speaks of so-called pre-obesity, a preliminary stage of pathological obesity.

Is Obesity Dangerous?

It is undisputed that being overweight is a significant risk factor for disease. The sequelae of obesity are, for example, diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases.

Which therapy is most likely to be successful?

The treatment chosen depends heavily on the cause of the obesity. Depending on whether genetic, disease-related or eating habits are responsible for obesity, different treatment approaches can be considered. For some people, a consistent change in diet is helpful, while in other cases only surgery (gastric banding) helps.

Can drug treatment be carried out?

If certain conditions are met, obesity can be treated with medication. The drugs used include orlistat, sibutramine and rimonabant. Your doctor can determine if you are eligible for drug therapy.