Overweight - Causes - Obesity

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Overweight - Causes - Obesity
Overweight - Causes - Obesity

Video: Overweight - Causes - Obesity

Video: Overweight - Causes - Obesity
Video: Obesity, Causes, SIgns and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. 2023, March

This is how obesity occurs

Many different factors can play a role in the development of overweight or obesity. In most cases, the body receives more energy than it consumes. A lack of exercise therefore also plays a decisive role in the development of obesity…


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  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • Causes of Obesity
  • When are you overweight?
  • Body fat distribution
  • Health Risks of Obesity

Causes of Obesity

It is often incorrectly learned behavior or psychological aspects such as eating under stress that are causally involved in the development of obesity. Obesity can also be related to certain diseases (e.g. thyroid gland) and genetic factors. However, genetic causes are not the sole trigger for obesity.

  • Lifestyle factors
  • eating disorder
  • Diseases with hormonal disorders
  • Medication
  • genetic causes
  • chronic stress
  • other causes such as being bedridden or pregnant

When are you overweight?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity begins with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 kg / m 2. From a BMI of 30 kg / m 2 we speak of obesity. However, the BMI alone is only partially suitable for assessing the risk of obesity, as it says little about the body fat distribution and percentage.

E inteilung overweight according to BMI

Classification weight BMI
Overweight (pre-obesity) 25-29.99
Grade I obesity 30-34.99
Obesity grade II 35-39.99
Obesity grade III ≥ 40

For more information, see:

  • The body mass index
  • BMI calculator (German Obesity Society)

Body fat distribution

With the increase in body weight, the body fat accumulates in different places. Some people tend to start on the thighs. Others put on more weight around their core. There are essentially two types of fat distribution: pear and apple.

The pear type

The pear type common in women (gynoid fat distribution) is characterized by an increased amount of fat on the hips, thighs and buttocks. This type of fat accumulation is less dangerous for health than the apple-type fat distribution that predominates in overweight men. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to a body weight in the normal range. This form of fat distribution is typically female, but men can also have such a gynoid fat distribution.

The apple type

In the male-typical (Android fat distribution), the fat accumulates increasingly around the middle of the body, i.e. in the abdominal area. This fat distribution is also common under the terms visceral or abdominal fat distribution and trunk obesity. A body fat distribution according to this pattern is associated with an increased risk of accompanying and secondary diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Women can also gain body weight according to this fat distribution pattern and have an android fat distribution.

Note A body fat distribution according to the apple type means an increased risk of secondary or concomitant diseases.

Waist-to-hip ratio

Using the quotient of waist and hip circumference, the individual risk of body fat distribution can be assessed very well. This value is known as the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). The typical male fat distribution results in a rather high WHR value, the female fat distribution tends to be rather low. If the WHR value is above 1 in men and above 0.85 in women, an increased risk of disease can be assumed.

Measuring the waist circumference alone (waist circumference at the level of the navel) is also suitable for assessing the risk of obesity. If the waist circumference in women is over 88 centimeters or in men over 102 centimeters, there is a significantly increased risk of disease.

Note Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) = waist circumference (in cm): hip circumference (in cm)

Waist-Hip-Ratio (WHR) Women Men
Significantly increased risk ≥ 0.85 ≥ 0.9
Waist circumference in cm Women Men
Moderately increased risk ≥ 80 ≥ 94
Significantly increased risk ≥ 88 ≥ 102

Source: WHO, Waist Circumference and Waist-Hip Ratio - Report of a WHO expert consultation, 2008

Health Risks of Obesity

Overweight people have to reckon with a multitude of accompanying and secondary diseases that can reduce not only their quality of life, but also their life expectancy. Not everyone who is overweight has to get sick. However, the risk of illness increases with the amount and duration of obesity. The metabolism, the cardiovascular system, the lungs, the digestive tract as well as the connective tissue and the skeleton are primarily affected by the negative effects of being overweight. Obesity is considered a risk factor for the development of numerous diseases and disorders in metabolism. It promotes arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, an increased cholesterol level, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Very overweight or obesity is a risk factor for:

  • Metabolic diseases
  • Atherosclerosis, followed by cardiovascular diseases
  • high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Sleep apnea syndrome
  • Joint disease

Obesity is also considered a risk factor for some cancers, such as breast, colon, uterine and kidney cancer. With increasing weight, the risk of gout and gallstones also increases. Being very overweight also promotes the occurrence of arthritis, especially in the knee joint. Due to the shift in the body's center of gravity, the entire spine, the hip joint, the metatarsus or the tarsal joint can be overloaded.

For more information, see Metabolic Syndrome and Childhood Obesity.

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