by Polsdorfer R

Conditions InDepth: Obesity

In adults, being overweight or obese is based on BMI.
  • Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25.
  • Obesity is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 30.
  • Severe or morbid obesity is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 40.
In children, being overweight or obese is based on BMI being above normal ranges on growth charts.
  • Overweight is BMI greater than or equal to 85th percentile for gender and age.
  • Obesity is BMI greater than or equal to 95th percentile for gender and age.
  • Severe obesity is BMI greater than or equal to 99th percentile for gender and age.
Being overweight or obese occurs when the amount of calories you take in is consistently greater than the number of calories you use during activity and basic bodily functions.

Complications of Obesity

Being obese can increase your risk of early death and shorten life expectancy.
Other complications of untreated obesity include:
Being overweight can also affect pregnancy and your child.
  • Effects on children may include increased risk of:
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Birth defects, especially neural tube defects
    • Autism or other neurodevelopmental disorders
You may also experience problems during labor and delivery, or have a baby with a high birth weight.
What are the risk factors for obesity?What are the symptoms of obesity?How is obesity diagnosed?What are the treatments for obesity?Are there screening tests for obesity?How can I reduce my risk of obesity?What questions should I ask my doctor?Where can I get more information about obesity?

References

Complications of obesity. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T576498/Complications-of-obesity. Updated January 16, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2017.
Heart-Health Risk Assessment. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/ToolsForYourHeartHealth/Heart-Health-Risk-Assessments-from-the-American-Heart-Association%5FUCM%5F306929%5FArticle.jsp#.VvpxLU2FPIU. Updated August 30 ,2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.
Leddy MA, Power ML, Schulkin J. The impact of maternal obesity on maternal and fetal health. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008;1(4):170–178.
Obesity. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/nutritional-disorders/obesity-and-the-metabolic-syndrome/obesity. Update December 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.
Obesity and overweight. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en. Updated June 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.
Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115009/Obesity-in-adults. Updated November 20, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2017.
Overweight and obesity. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe. Updated February 23, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2017.
Zaman A. Diabetes and obesity greatly contribute to hepatocellular carcinoma. NEJM Journal Watch website. Available at: http://www.jwatch.org/na32053/2013/09/11/diabetes-and-obesity-greatly-contribute-hepatocellular?query=topic%5Fnutrition. Accessed October 1, 2013.
10/16/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115153/Obesity-in-children-and-adolescents: Krul M, van der Wouden JC, Schellevis FG, van Suijlekom-Smit LW, Koes BW. Musculoskeletal problems in overweight and obese children. Ann Fam Med. 2009;7(4):352-356.
1/15/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T576498/Complications-of-obesity: Shiri R, Karppinen J, Leino-Arjas P, Solovieva S, Viikari-Juntura E. The association between obesity and low back pain: a meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol. 2010;171(2):135-154.
5/27/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T909503/Pregnancy-in-obese-women: Molyneaux E, Poston L, Ashurst-Williams S, Howard LM. Obesity and mental disorders during pregnancy and postpartum: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(4):857-867.
10/1/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T576498/Complications-of-obesity: Bhaskaran K, Douglas I, Forbes H, dos-Santos-Silva I, Leon DA, Smeeth L. Body-mass index and risk of 22 specific cancers: a population-based cohort study of 5.24 million UK adults. Lancet. 2014;384(9945):755-765.

Revision Information

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.











Precocious puberty is the unusually early onset of puberty. Typically, this is before:...

Hyperparathyroidism is when the body makes too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). The parathyroid glands make PTH which help to keep calcium levels in balance. When PTH leve...

Girls enter puberty between the ages of 7-13. Boys enter this stage between the ages of 9-14. When this stage is late, it is called delayed sexual development....

5 Treatments for Obesity condition indepth
7 Symptoms of Obesity condition indepth
9 Screening for Obesity condition indepth
10 Risk Factors for Obesity condition indepth
11 Resource Guide for Obesity condition indepth
12 Other Treatments for Obesity condition indepth
13 Medications for Obesity condition indepth
16 Diagnosis of Obesity condition indepth

Being overweight or obese means your weight is above an ideal weight range. Excess weight creates an increase in the risk of serious diseases like heart disease, certain ...