Symptoms of obesity

Obesity is one of the biggest problems in our society. We present 7 symptoms that characterize it.

Physician reviewed and approved Diego Pereira on December 05, 2021.

Last update: December 05, 2021

Obesity is one of the biggest epidemics in recent years. According to some studies, In countries like the United States, it reaches 39.8% of the adult population and 18.5% of the young population. There are some misunderstandings about what is and what is the differentiating axis with respect to being overweight. To remedy this, we have rounded up the main symptoms of obesity.

It is a more complex condition than it seems. Many associate it with disorderly eating, but this is not always the case. Genetic, endocrine disorders and the use of certain medications can cause it.

7 symptoms of obesity

Recently from some media, reports and conferences obesity has been classified as a disease. The debate is open among researchers, in part due to the complexity of the factors involved. Although many would think that it is a condition that can be detected with the naked eye, in practice there are some misunderstandings about it.



Indeed, many obese patients are completely unaware that they are. Leaving aside conditions that can prevent recognition (such as megarexia), some people are unaware of the difference between obesity and being overweight. This is not to mention that obesity is a condition that has normalized in recent years.



Our society today is more obese than ever, and the projections of obese patients for the future do not bode well. It is important to remember that strokes, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, certain types of cancers, and heart disease, among many other things, are its main complications. We leave you like this with the symptoms of obesity.

1. Body mass index (BMI) values

The body mass index (BMI) is a mathematical calculation that takes into account a person’s weight and height to establish weight categories. It was created by the Belgian Adolphe Quetelet and, in general terms (although not specific), it is used to determine if a person is overweight, obese or has healthy values.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), to a person is diagnosed with obesity when their BMI is equal to or greater than 30. This is the measure accepted by the international body, although some specialists or care centers in different regions use a couple of points less for diagnosis.

To give you an idea about the values ​​of BMI in relation to weight, and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following data will be of interest to you:

  • BMI equal to or less than 18.4: underweight or unhealthy.
  • BMI between 18.5 and 24: healthy or standard weight.
  • BMI between 25 and 29: overweight.
  • BMI equal to or greater than 30: obesity.

In turn, obesity is usually classified into three types:

  • BMI between 30 and 34: type I obesity.
  • BMI between 35 and 39: type II obesity.
  • BMI equal to or greater than 40: Type III obesity (also known as severe obesity or morbid obesity).

Keep in mind that BMI is a useful tool for home screening, but not for determining the amount of adipose tissue in the body. In this sense, you can score a BMI of 30 and not be obese (bodybuilders, for example). In many Asian countries, a BMI of 27 is sufficient to diagnose obesity, as it far exceeds the population standard.

Be that as it may, the BMI is a quick and effective method for 90% of the population. We leave you with some BMI calculators that you can use (English and Spanish) according to your metric system. Corroborate these values ​​with a specialist to measure the amount of real adipose tissue in your body.

2. Excessive accumulation of body fat

What we all think of when talking about obesity is the accumulation of adipose tissue, generally at the abdominal level and in the hips.

The accumulation of adipose tissue is one of the main symptoms of obesity. Furthermore, it is a sign that is visible to the naked eye; so it is very difficult to ignore (except when some disorders are present, as we already stipulated).

Two types of body fat are usually classified: subcutaneous and visceral. The first accumulates in the outermost area, especially in the abdomen, chains and thighs. It is also known as soft fat and it is more common in women.

Visceral fat, sometimes known as hard fat, accumulates only in the abdomen. It is an internal fat that is located between the organs. It is more common in men and is associated with greater complications than in the previous case (it is also more difficult to remove).

3. Difficulty doing everyday tasks

Excess body fat and weight make it difficult to complete everyday tasks. Even in the case of type II and type III, it can lead to disability. Actions as common as climbing stairs, walking, playing sports, doing housework, and so on are difficult to complete.

It is not just a question of physical performance, but of weight. The body has to make a greater effort in contrast to a person with a normal weight range, which will lead you to tire faster. This is why many obese patients opt for a sedentary lifestyle, which further aggravates their condition.

4. Psychological problems

Studies and research have found a link between obesity and psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. Patients can also develop social phobia, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and so on. It can occur in both children and adults.

5. Difficulty breathing

Obese people often develop obstructive sleep apnea, hypoventilation syndrome, dyspnea, and asthma. They can occur both in periods of rest (when sitting or lying down) and while doing some type of activity. It is one of the classic symptoms of obesity.

6. Fatigue

Doing any type of physical activity while obese can become a real challenge, so it is common to feel fatigue.

As we have already pointed out, excess weight limits the freedom of our movements. Since we have to exert more effort for a daily activity, we experience fatigue throughout the day. This can also be translated as a decrease in energy and a tendency to want to sleep more frequently.

7. Joint and back pain

The extra weight not only translates into the obesity symptoms above, it also has a direct impact on your joints. This will cause you to experience knee, ankle, back pain and so on.. Your middle and lower trunk will be the most affected, to the point that you can develop arthritis and other similar conditions.

Other symptoms or disorders of obesity that we can consider recurrent are the following:

  • Infections in the skin folds.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Heat intolerance
  • Difficulty to sleep.
  • Thick skin.
  • Stretch marks.
  • Edema and varicose veins.
  • High cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Constipation.
  • Gastrointestinal reflux.
  • Snoring.

Apart from this, BMI continues to be the main indicator and at the same time a symptom of obesity. If you obtain a result equal to or greater than 30, you will be classified as an obese patient. Based on previous conditions and your lifestyle, a specialist can start a program to bring you closer to the standards of a healthy weight.

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