Obesity is defined as having an excessive amount of body fat. Being extremely obese means you are likely to have health problems related to your weight. Obesity increases your risk of diseases and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
The good news is that even modest weight loss can help improve or prevent the health problems associated with obesity. You can usually lose weight through dietary changes and physical activity. In some cases, prescription medications or weight-loss surgery may be options.
Generally, men with a waist circumference of 94cm (37.5 inches) or more and women with a waist circumference of 80cm (33.5 inches) or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems.
Obesity is generally caused by consuming more calories – particularly those in fatty and sugary foods – than you burn off through physical activity. The excess energy is then stored by the body as fat.
Obesity is an increasingly common problem, because many modern lifestyles often promote eating excessive amounts of cheap, high-calorie food and spending a lot of time sitting at desks, on sofas or in cars.
There are also some underlying health conditions that can occasionally contribute to weight gain, such as an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), although conditions such as this don’t usually cause weight problems if they are effectively controlled with medication.
The best way to treat obesity is to eat a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and to exercise regularly. To do this you should:
eat a balanced, calorie-controlled diet as recommended by your GP or weight loss management health professional n)
join a local weight loss group
take up activities such as fast walking, jogging, swimming or tennis for 150-300 minutes a week
eat slowly and avoid situations where you know you could be tempted to overeat
You may also benefit from psychological support from a trained healthcare professional, to help change the way you think about food and eating.
If lifestyle changes alone don't help you lose weight, a medication called orlistat may be recommended. If taken correctly, this medication works by reducing the amount of the fat you absorb during digestion. Your local doctor will know whether orlistat is suitable for you.
Always seek professional medical advice if your are concerned about your bodyweight.