Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. In Western countries, people are considered obese when their body mass index (BMI), a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight by the square of the person’s height, exceeds 30 kg/m2, with the range 25-30 kg/m2 defined as overweight. Some East Asian countries use stricter criteria.
Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive food energy intake, lack of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility, although a few cases are caused primarily by genes, endocrine disorders, medications, or psychiatric illness. Evidence to support the view that some obese people eat little yet gain weight due to a slow metabolism is limited. On average, obese people have a greater energy expenditure than their thin counterparts due to the energy required to maintain an increased body mass.
Dieting and exercising are the main treatments for obesity. Diet quality can be improved by reducing the consumption of energy-dense foods, such as those high in fat and sugars, and by increasing the intake of dietary fiber. With a suitable diet, anti-obesity drugs may be taken to reduce appetite or decrease fat absorption. If diet, exercise, and medication are not effective, a gastric balloon may assist with weight loss, or surgery may be performed to reduce stomach volume and/or bowel length, leading to feeling full earlier and a reduced ability to absorb nutrients from food.