Obesity Basics


Obesity is an excess proportion of total body fat.A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. The most common measure of obesity is the body mass index or BMI. A person is considered overweight if his or her BMI is between 25 and 29.9; a person is considered obese if his or her BMI is over 30.Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity combined, are the second leading cause of preventable death (tobacco is first). Obesity is associated with significant increases in risk for type II diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, degenerative joint disease and psychosocial disability. Certain cancers – colon, rectum and prostate in men; uterus, biliary tract, breast and ovary in women – are more prevalent in the obese.You can calculate your BMI below.


The symptoms of obesity go beyond excess body fat. Skin problems, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping, and more can affect someone with obesity.Some symptoms are even known to increase a person’s risk of developing certain diseases and disorders such as type II diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, degenerative joint disease and psychosocial disability. Certain cancers – colon, rectum and prostate in men; uterus, biliary tract, breast and ovary in women . In some cases, these may be life-threatening or even fatal.

Common symptoms of obesity in adults include:

  • Excess body fat, particularly around the waist
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating more than usual
  • Snoring
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Skin problems from moisture accumulating in the folds of skin
  • Inability to perform simple physical tasks that one 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


Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. There are many reasons why some people have difficulty losing weight. Usually, obesity results from inherited, physiological and environmental factors, combined with diet, physical activity and exercise choices.

 People with obesity might eat more calories before feeling full, feel hungry sooner, or eat more due to stress or anxiety.

Many people who live in Western countries now have jobs that are much less physically demanding, so they don’t tend to burn as many calories at work. Even daily activities use fewer calories, courtesy of conveniences such as remote controls, escalators, online shopping and drive-through banks.



 The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. A healthier diet, increased physical activity and behavior changes can help you lose weight. Weight loss medications and weight-loss procedures are additional options for treating obesity.It is important to constantly check your BMI as it gives you a guide on whether you are still in obese range or you have moved into normal range.

Body Mass Index Chart
BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5-24.9 Normal
25.0-29.9 Overweight
30 or greater Obese
40 or greater Extremely (morbidly) obese

The goal of obesity treatment is to reach and stay at a healthy weight. This improves overall health and lowers the risk of developing complications related to obesity.

The initial treatment goal is usually a modest weight loss — 5% to 10% of your total weight. That means that if you weigh 200 pounds (91 kilograms), you’d need to lose only about 10 to 20 pounds (4.5 to 9 kilograms) for your health to begin to improve. However, the more weight you lose, the greater the benefits.

All weight-loss programs require changes in your eating habits and increased physical activity. The treatment methods that are right for you depend on your obesity severity, your overall health and your willingness to participate in your weight-loss plan.

Low-carb diets and practicing healthier eating habits are vital to overcoming obesity.

Dietary and activity changes to treat obesity include:

    • Cutting calories. The key to weight loss is reducing how many calories you take in. The first step is to review your typical eating and drinking habits to see how many calories you normally consume and where you can cut back. You can decide how many calories you need to take in each day to lose weight, but a typical amount is 1,200 to 1,500 calories for women and 1,500 to 1,800 for men



    • Feeling full on less. Some foods — such as desserts, candies, fats and processed foods — contain a lot of calories for a small portion. In contrast, fruits and vegetables provide a larger portion size with fewer calories,that is why smoothies can be a great replacement for some meals in order to reduce calorie intake. Click here to access an assortment of healthy, green smoothies designed to help increase your fiber intake. For a more in depth diet plan, click here to access a custom built-for-you smoothie diet plan
    • Making healthier choices. To make your overall diet healthier, eat more plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Also emphasize lean sources of protein — such as beans, lentils and soy — and lean meats. Check out our recipes page for fresh ideas of healthy meals you can start serving today.
    • Restricting certain foods. Certain diets like keto diet limit the amount of a particular food group, such as high-carbohydrate or full-fat foods. Click here to access an assortment of healthy, keto based recipes designed to help you maintain a low carb diet. For a more in depth diet plan, click here to access a custom built-for-you keto diet plan
    • Meal replacements. These plans suggest replacing one or two meals with their products — such as low calorie smoothies — and eat healthy snacks and a healthy, balanced third meal that’s low in fat and calories.
    • Exercise. People with obesity need to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity to prevent further weight gain or to maintain the loss of a modest amount of weight. 
    • Keep moving. Even though regular aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to burn calories and shed excess weight, any extra movement helps burn calories.  Many people try to reach 10,000 steps every day. Gradually increase the number of steps you take daily to reach that goal.

Weight-loss medications are meant to be used along with diet, exercise and behavior changes, not instead of them. Before selecting a medication for you, your doctor will consider your health history, as well as possible side effects.

The most commonly used medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of obesity include:


  • Bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave)
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda)
  • Orlistat (Alli, Xenical)
  • Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)

Weight-loss medications may not work for everyone, and the effects may wane over time. When you stop taking a weight-loss medication, you may regain much or all of the weight you lost.