Facts About The Human Body
31st August 2017

Obesity & Being Overweight




What is the difference?

What’s the difference between obesity and being overweight? In principal, being obese can mean people are carrying too much body fat, however, being overweight can, in certain circumstances, be classed as people who weigh too much. All of this will be explained in greater detail in this section, plus how being overweight or obese can cause disease.

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This section will explain some of the reasons why people are overweight or obese. also explain different ways how obesity and being overweight are assessed, defined and measured. Together with a list of many conditions that are caused by being overweight or obese, these include:
  • Sleep Apnoea (This subject is also covered in section 35)
  • Asthma
  • Type 2 Diabetes (This subject is also covered in section 9)
  • Heart Disease (This subject is also covered in section 20)
  • Stroke (This subject is also covered in section 25)
  • Heart Attack
  • Metabolic Arthritis (Gout)
  • Kidney Disease
  • Certain types of Cancer, such as Prostate, Rectal, Colon
  • Gallstones
  • Degenerative arthritis of the hips, back, knees


For many years obesity has been defined in different terms, such as an increase in an ideal weight by at least 20%. Another definition is having too much body fat.


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"BMI" - devised by Lambert Quetelet



Again, this tells you if your weight is considered normal, overweight or obese. To find your waist to hip ratio, simply put a tape measure around your waist, then put the tape measure around your hips. To find the ratio, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. The hip to waist ratio differs for men and women. For example:
  • A woman with a waist of 31” and a hip measurement of 41” would give a Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) of 0.76. This would be considered low risk for heart diseases and other conditions.
  • A woman with a waist of 31” and hips 37” your WHR would be 0.82. This would be considered medium risk for heart diseases and other conditions.
  • A woman with a waist was 31” and hips 35” your WHR would be 0.89 This would be considered high risk for heart diseases and other conditions.
  • The World Health Organization have reported that a Waist to Hip Ratio for a woman of 0.80 or lower, is a low health risk, a medium risk, would be between 0.81 and 0.85. A high risk would be a figure of 0.86 or higher.
  • The World Health Organization have reported that a Waist to Hip Ratio for a man of 0.95 or lower is a low health risk. A medium risk would be between 0.96 and 1.00. A high risk would be a figure of 1.01 or higher.

WHAT CAUSES OBESITY or being overweight?

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WHAT CAUSES OBESITY or being overweight? This is a minefield! The first thing people say is “You Eat Too Much”. Yes, that may be a cause of obesity or being overweight, however, there are many other reasons which I’ve listed below.
  • JUNK FOOD isn’t made of rubbish, however the food used has very little nutrients your body needs to maintain a healthy weight, in fact it can be the cause of many conditions listed at the beginning of this section. Junk food is processed food containing excess fat, processed sugar carbohydrates and additives.
Section 13 explains how sugar could be Poison & Toxic . In simple terms, sugar has zero benefit to the health of your body.


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  • INSULIN RESISTANCE is a subject some people don’t connect with obesity and being overweight. Insulin is a hormone that regulates your body’s energy storage. Insulin resistance is a term used when billions of your body cells, fail to respond to the insulin hormone. The cause of insulin resistance can be linked to, no exercise, excessive body fat, excessive body weight, lack of sleep, smoking, not exercising.
  • The Medical Profession often refer to high blood pressure as the “Silent Killer”, there are around 300 million people worldwide who are totally unaware they have high blood pressure, mainly due to the fact there are no real symptoms. Unfortunately, many people find out they have been suffering with high blood pressure after they’ve had a heart attack, stroke or other conditions. (More about high blood pressure and the silent killer in section 13).
    When insulin resistance starts to develop, your body calls out to the Pancreas to make more insulin, as time goes by, months turn into years the body calls out for more and more insulin from your pancreas, eventually the pancreas breaks down and can’t produce enough insulin. Over the period of the past years, in a way similar to high blood pressure, insulin resistance has slowly been silently developing. However, during this period of time you may not have experienced any symptoms that your blood sugar may have started to rise, this could be the beginning of Pre-Diabetes or even Type 2 Diabetes. (Read more about diabetes in section 9). This rise in blood sugar may have also triggered the start of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). This is a side effect of insulin resistance, possibly causing liver and heart disease.

Type 2 Diabetes

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Apart from the damage type 2 diabetes can cause to the organs in the body, long term uncontrolled type 2 diabetes if untreated, can affect the nerves and blood circulation. Particularly the skin in the feet and lower legs, the picture below relates directly to uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.
All the information above can start with obesity, if treated early, type 2 diabetes can be reversed and reduce the chances of high blood pressure.


LACK OF EXERCISE causes “Energy Imbalance” which is a condition used by doctors and dieticians when discussing obesity and exercise. Energy imbalance can be caused by lack of exercise which means, if you eat too much and don’t exercise, the consequence is an “Energy Imbalance” which can cause obesity. In simple terms, if Energy Input (Food & Drink) Exceeds Energy Output (Lack of Exercise). You will put on weight; this can be the start of obesity.
Keeping active and exercising, reducing weight so your no longer obese, eating healthy food, can lower the risk of high blood pressure, type2 diabetes, heart disease, a stroke, metabolic arthritis, gallstones, degenerative arthritis of hips & knees, kidney disease and certain cancers. However, if you don’t exercise, be a couch potato and don’t lose weight, you will be at risk of developing any of the life threating conditions detailed above.


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MEDICATIONS CAN CAUSE OBESITY. Unfortunately, some medications prescribed for high blood pressure, beta blockers, epilepsy, diabetes, steroids, may cause weight gain. There are some medications, such as metformin prescribed for diabetes that don’t cause weight gain. There are also many drugs that are specifically approved and prescribed for weight loss. Your doctor, consultant or health professional, should be consulted regarding weight loss medications, do not take any medication that hasn’t been prescribed for you. Some weight loss medications prescribed to help other patients lose weight may have adverse reactions. Don’t stop any medications prescribed for you without first talking to your doctor or health professional.


GENETICS MAY CAUSE OBESITY. The following is a very very short snippet of information about genes. The human body has some 20,000 genes, each gene is made of a substance called deoxyribonucleic acid, this is more commonly known as your DNA, which is the genetic code of organisms. Each gene carries information that determines how your body develops, your character features, such as the colour of your eyes, the colour of your hair, height. Genes also carry instructions to tell your body cells to make molecules that are called proteins, it’s these proteins that keep your body healthy.
However, one of these genes called the FTO Gene, is carried by all humans, this gene is linked with appetite. There are other genes liked with appetite and obesity, for those interested, I suggest you consider going online, it’s a very complex subject. One thing I know from my research, our genes and DNA definitely have an impact on our appetite, health and longevity.


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INHERITED GENES can be a cause of obesity, research has shown that genes inherited from their parents may be the cause of their obesity. One of these genes can be responsible for the “Prada Willi Syndrome”. This syndrome is caused when active genes fail to respond to specific areas of chromosome 15, children normally receive one chromosome from each parent, if defective, it may be the causes of obesity in later life. Another syndrome is called the “Bardet Biedl Syndrome”, this may also be a cause of obesity. Inherited genes can also be the cause of heart disease, especially if parents have a history of diabetes, high blood pressure. There are other genes that can be inherited, an online search would explain more. However, the two genetic syndromes mentioned above, may directly influence high blood pressure and obesity.

More information

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More information will be added to this section as research continues. There are many sections on this website that explain more about some of the subjects mentioned above.

Please remember not take medications prescribed for someone else, they may cause an adverse effect on your current medications. The same goes for supplements which can also have adverse effects. You can read more about supplements in section.

IMPORTANT, please note, before you add any additional supplements, medications or decide to stop or change existing prescribed medications, talk to your doctor, consultant or heath professional first.

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