The new-age, multi-factorial condition that is becoming a pandemic.


About Obesity

Recall the olden days where people used to be fit and healthy. Do you know any of your ancestors paying for their health insurance? Hardly few people were overweight during those times. A healthy and happy time, isn’t it? They truly believed in - “Health is Wealth.”

But we are now at a stage that it is hard to find a person who is fit or having a flat tummy. Along with the developments, knowingly or unknowingly, we are pushing ourselves into a hub of medical problems due to obesity.

  • Obesity +

    Obesity occurs due to the increased fat content in the body.

    It happens over time when a person’s calorie intake does not match with that

    of energy expenditure. It may be due to overeating or a sedentary lifestyle. The occurrence may vary depending on the age, geographical condition, dietary pattern, and socio-economic status.

    Obesity is once considered as a problem of high-economic countries, but now it is more of a common problem in developing countries, particularly in urban populations.

  • Prevalence +

    Obesity is an emerging problem that has been tripled worldwide since 1975. A global survey reported that around 650 million people are obese, and approximately 2.8 million deaths are linked to obesity and overweight. In India, about 135 million people are affected by obesity. The prevalence rate of obesity varies from 11.8% to 31.3%, according to ICMR-INDIAB study 2015. In India, abdominal obesity is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVDs), and its occurrence ranges between 16.9%-36.3%.

    According to a national survey, the prevalence of obesity is higher in the urban population and high socio-economic status than in the rural population. A rapid increase in the incidence of obesity observed from 1998 to 2018 survey is associated with a sedentary lifestyle and intake of high-calorie food.

  • Obesity Classification +

    Obesity can be graded depending on the body mass index (BMI). BMI is used to estimate body fat and helps to check whether the weight is in a healthy or unhealthy range. Any person can calculate their BMI by dividing the weight in kilograms by the square of his/her height in meters.

    BMI = Body weight (Kg)/ Height (m)2

    The interpretation of BMI in children and teens should be gender and age-specific. This is because the amount of body fat changes with age and is different in girls and boys. However, in adults, BMI interpretation does not depend on age and gender. 

    The classification of obesity depending on the BMI in adults is as follows


    Obesity may also be measured depending on the fat percentage. Men with a body fat percentage ranging from 21-25% are considered to be in borderline and with greater than 25% as obese. Women with a body fat percentage ranging from 31-33% are considered to be in borderline and with greater than 33% as obese.

    Have a check

    Severe obesity (BMI≥40) leads to a reduction in life expectancy as high as 20 years in males and five years in females. Additionally, a person may experience social isolation, disability, and depression. Obesity potentially increases a person’s risk of certain complications, such as:

    • Heart diseases
    • Type-2 diabetes
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Gynecological issues
    • Cancer of prostate, colon, rectum, breast, ovaries, pancreas, and lungs
  • Causes +

    The occurrence of obesity is complex in nature. Usually, more than one factor may influence the occurrence of the condition.

    Age: Obesity can occur at any age. But as a person grows old his risk of being obese may increase. Reduced activity level and metabolic rate (rate at which the body burns calories) may contribute to age-related obesity, if lifestyle modifications are not done accordingly.

    Genetic factors: The genes of obesity runs in the family. Inheritance of these genes makes a person more vulnerable to adapt to similar eating habits, which may increase the risk of obesity.

    Gender: The metabolic rate is higher in men than in women. So, women are more likely to develop obesity than men. Hormonal changes are an additional factor that makes a woman more susceptible to the condition.

    Lifestyle: A sedentary lifestyle may slowly progress to obesity. Spending time in front of televisions and mobile is the major reason for weight gain. Consuming energy-dense foods loaded with calories, such as fast foods, sugary drinks, and oversized portions, are the major contributors to obesity.

    Sleep: Low-quality sleep is associated with hormonal changes, which may adversely affect appetite and food choices. It also affects the extent of the physical activity of a person, which may lead to obesity.

    Other factors that may influence obesity include socioeconomic status, certain medicines, and certain medical conditions that interfere with the physical activity of a person.

  • Diagnosis +

    Diagnosis for obesity includes obtaining a medical history and a physical examination that includes general body check-ups such as:

    • Measuring heart rate
    • Blood pressure
    • Checking waist circumference

    Blood tests may also be recommended to measure blood cholesterol levels, fasting glucose, liver function, and to rule out
    the presence of other conditions that may cause weight gain, such as thyroid deficiencies, etc.

  • Treatment +

    Weight reduction to prevent the risk of obesity-related health issues is the main aim of the treatment.

    1. Medication: In addition to diet and exercise, the doctor may prescribe weight-loss medications. These medications prevent the absorption of fat and suppress appetite.
    2. Surgery: Weight-loss surgery is an option when all the other treatment options fail to achieve weight-loss. Surgery is preferred when the BMI is above 30 kg/m2 with co-morbidities.
    3. Lifestyle modifications: Both diet and exercise, play an important role in managing obesity. Additionally, counselling may help to overcome any behavioral issues related to overeating. Joining a support group could be of great help to stay motivated.


  • Stay Healthy +

    Some of the measures can help you in maintaining body weight and being healthy:

    • Lose at least 5 to 10 percent of the weight; it may help in delaying or preventing obesity-related conditions.
    • Exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet to reach the goal of weight-loss.
    • Take part in a weight- loss program to be consistent during the weight loss regime.
    • Identify food triggers and stay away from them.


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