Obesity is defined as excess body fat that is 20% above a person’s ideal weight. The ideal weight must take into account the person’s height, age, sex and build. A person is also obese if their body mass index (BMI) is 30 kg/m² or greater. Obesity puts a strain on the cardiovascular system and increases the risk of diabetes and hypertension.

What causes obesity?

The body increases in weight when it takes in more calories than it ‘burns’. When these extra calories are stored as fat over many years the person will then become obese.

Genetic link to obesity:

There is evidence to suggest that obesity has a strong genetic component. If there is a family history of obesity this increases the risk of obesity, because genes determine body shape and to some extent your weight. However this doesn't mean your fate is sealed. The inevitable can be defied by regular exercise and a controlled diet.

Controlled factors that influence obesity

Lifestyle and behaviour patterns also influences obesity. This includes what a person eats and their level of physical activity. Today’s culture promotes obesity, food is served in larger portions and many people tend to choose high fat food and ignore food with nutritional value.


Text for this topic by Janet Camacho.