More about obesity: Definition, symptoms and diagnosis
Obesity is a disease characterized by excess body fat. Get an accurate obesity definition and find out more about obesity diagnosis and common symptoms.
More and more experts are recognising obesity as a disease. This comes as a surprise to some and a relief to others, especially those living with obesity. But why is obesity a disease and not simply a lack of willpower or a matter of lifestyle?
Part of the answer to whether or not obesity is a disease lies in the fact that there’s more to obesity that you can see. A lot more.
In January 2019, the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) recognized
obesity is a disease. A chronic yet manageable disease that’s affected
not only by our genes but also by the modern environment we live in.
According to Dr. Andrew Goddard, “It is not a lifestyle choice caused
by individual greed, but a disease caused by health inequalities,
genetic influences, and social factors.” Even with this recognition,
the debate around why is obesity a disease continued and reactions in
the UK media were strong.
Around the world, similar expert working groups have arrived at the same conclusion that often provokes heated debates in the media. Obesity is still widely thought of as a simple matter of lifestyle – of how much you eat and how little you move. Of energy in and energy out. It sounds simple, but it’s not correct according to the science.
In fact, obesity is a disease that:
Obesity is a disease that is a serious medical problem, but people living with obesity rarely seek professional medical help because they believe that they need to deal with it all on their own.
Thankfully, more and more healthcare providers recognise the
complexity of obesity and are learning how to help. Their toolbox of
treatment options is also growing and is constantly being updated.
Today, obesity is a disease with treatments that include behavioural
therapy, meal replacements and low energy diets, anti-obesity
medications, and bariatric surgery. They also look beyond just what
you eat and how much you move. Modern obesity management involves
understanding individual eating patterns (how, when, and why you eat),
as well as patterns of mood, sleep, stress, and physical activity. A
personalised treatment plan will probably require a combination of
different treatment options to meet your needs.
People living with obesity are reminded of it every day – in public
clothing stores, parks, or even while eating dinner with the ones they love. But size is the least important aspect of why obesity is a disease. The important aspects, such as weight stigma and self-esteem, are the ones you can’t see.
The good news is that obesity is a disease that is manageable and people who live with it can still improve their health and wellbeing. In fact, a weight loss of only five percent is enough to lower the risk of some weight-related health complications, like high blood pressure. Weight management has no quick fixes. To lose weight and keep it off, people with obesity need proper ongoing treatment and care. This is why it is important to recognise that obesity is a disease and to treat it using the latest scientific advancements.
Talk to your obesity care provider about treatment options that could prevent the weight you lose from coming back.