We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Clinical Definition of Obesity?

By Garry Crystal
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Obesity is one of the major medical problems in the western world. The clinical definition of obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. The BMI is the body’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the body’s height in meters.

Obesity results when a person ingests more calories than he or she can burn off. If this happens regularly over a period of time, the body will store the extra calories as fat. The body is able to burn off calories as energy needed throughout the day, but if the energy is not burned away, it will be stored as fat.

Every person has his or her own metabolic rate. This is the rate at which calories are used or burned off within the body. People who take a lot of exercise or are employed in strenuous jobs usually have a very high metabolic rate. They require a lot of calories, but burn them off easily. People who do not take a lot of exercise or are involved in jobs such as office work do not need as many calories.

The body stores extra calories as fat as a precaution against times of starvation. In the western world, starvation rarely affects people who eat regularly. If a person continually eats calories that he or she cannot burn off, obesity may occur.

Obesity is very serious health problem. Research has shown that it can shorten life expectancy by at least nine years. In the last two decades, the obesity rate in adults has quadrupled. Obesity can also lead to many other health complications, including infertility, depression, heart disease and stroke.

Being slightly overweight may not affect your health seriously, but when weight reaches levels of obesity, then problems will occur. Everyday activities may become difficult, and irregularities may appear with breathing. Sweating may occur during the simplest tasks, and a persistent feeling of fatigue may result from the extra weight.

Obese people often have problems with regular sleeping patterns. They are also very susceptible to snoring and awaken frequently during the night. Conditions such as arthritis and diabetes may also set in as a result of obesity. Serious problems, such as breast cancer and ovarian disease, have also been linked to obesity.

Obesity is usually caused by a poor diet and lack of exercise, but there are some medical causes for the problem. These are rare, but conditions such as an underactive thyroid or Cushing’s disease may be the cause of obesity. There are also certain medications that add weight when taken, such as steroids and certain antidepressants. Medications such as the contraceptive pill or quitting smoking can also contribute to weight gain.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By subway11 — On Feb 11, 2011

Sunny27-I think that is so sad, but it can be treated with a lot of physical exercise. Kids need exercise to feel better and become more mentally agile.

Kids that engage in sports or some form of physical activity often have fewer problems with their weight, are able to sleep better, and they often concentrate better in school.

For example, in Japan, the school day is started with recess. The Japanese understand that daily exercise is not only good for the body but is good for the mind as well.

This is what is missing in American schools which tend to cut back on physical education due to lack of funding.

This is an area that should always be included in the school curriculum. Maybe we can learn a thing or two from the Japanese who have among the top scores in literacy and mathematical computation in the world.

By Sunny27 — On Feb 07, 2011

Cafe41 - I agree that many of the obesity causes are due to eating larger portions but I also agree with Ivanka that a lack of exercise plays a vital role in obesity.

For example, with the technological advances and the popularity of gaming software both adults and children are getting less exercise.

Most kids spend hours indoors playing video games and often snack on unhealthy high calorie foods while doing so.

They say that for the first time in history children suffering from childhood obesity might have a shorter life span than their parents.

By cafe41 — On Feb 07, 2011

Ivanka - Those are great tips. I have to say that the obesity statistics are soaring in the United States.

As a matter of fact about 60% of adults are obese. Obesity in America has gone out of control. The reason can be explained in a variety of ways. First, our portions are larger than ever. When you order an entrée of pasta at a restaurant they actually serve you three times the normal serving.

If you are one to “Clean your plate” then it can be disastrous. Along with the larger portion sizes come the unhealthy options available. There is just so much fast food available everywhere that when people are short on time that is where they tend to go.

By ivanka — On Feb 29, 2008

Since our bodies are designed to gain weight and retain it for survival, it is no wonder that it is so easy for us to pile on weight. Add to that the abundance of food in the western world, and lack of movement, due to lifestyle, we are so prone to become obese.

Fortunately for us we do have an answer, and a rather simple one, as how to prevent obesity.

It is not any particular diet, nor starvation, but eating food in measured amounts and exercising.

So eat often, in small quantities, plenty of fruit and vegetable, and move; walk, swim, bike, just keep on moving. That is what doctors are telling us, and it is working.

There are so many foods that are low in calories. It is wise to look up the ingredients, and calories per serving.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.