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What is Obesity?

Gastone Zucchiatti
Specialist in General Medicine, weight control and smoking cessation. Assistance in the Emergency Service.
07 Mar 2024
4 Min
Health tips
  • The World Health Organization defines obesity as “an abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat that can be harmful to health.


Obesity and overweight have reached proportions classified as “epidemic” and the World Atlas of Obesity 2023 predicts that more than 4 billion people in the world, that is, 51% of the global population, will suffer from overweight and obesity in 2035.

To improve the prediction of the disease, it is important to start talking about it and eradicate the stigma that surrounds it, since obesity, apart from being a chronic disease, is also the origin of multiple health problems.

Definition and Causes of Obesity

Obesity is a chronic progressive disease. It is generally accepted that the cause of obesity is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended, so the body stores excess calories as fat.

It is a multifactorial and complex disease, in which not only diet and exercise are involved, but also depends on multiple biological agents such as genetics, body composition, metabolism, stress management and intrinsic sleeping disorders, which predispose to gaining weight. Sociocultural factors (educational and income level), behavioral factors, and certain medications may also play a role.


The most obvious symptom of obesity is weight gain. The rest of the symptoms are linked to this main one, and can be: pain in the joints or back, excessive sweating, difficulty sleeping, fatigue,  shortness of breath, depression and infections in the skin folds.

How Obesity is diagnosed

Obesity should be evaluated by a specialist doctor, since they have the ability to address the disease in its full dimension.

After taking a complete and personalized clinical history, where family and personal history are taken into account, the doctor proceeds to the anthropometric study. This includes a series of diagnostic tests that allow us to evaluate the patient’s general health, especially at the bone, muscle and nutritional level.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is the best-known indicator for diagnosing obesity and is obtained by dividing the person’s weight by the squared height. If the result obtained ranges between 25 and 30, it means that you are overweight, while if it is greater than 30, we speak of obesity.

The Bioimpedance Test allows us to measure the percentage of fat found between the skin and the organs, as well as the percentage of muscle and body water. This test is carried out in all the sessions that the patient attends to measure the degree of evolution and response to the treatment.

The doctor may request analytical tests to evaluate other parameters related to obesity that are causing this weight gain, such as the presence of cholesterol or diabetes.

Treatment for Obesity

In the event that the diagnostic tests are positive, a specific and personalized treatment will be proposed. The treatment is designed based on the causes that have led to the development of the pathology, setting a specific objective to achieve the ideal weight.

Among the most common options is the creation of a personalized nutritional plan and guidance on physical activities. This plan can be adapted depending on how each body responds. Furthermore, to complement it, nowadays there are many medicines that can help us reach our ideal weight, either by increasing satiety (regulating appetite) or by decreasing the absorption of fat from the diet.

In the follow-up sessions, the doctor can evaluate how the patient is progressing, both physically and mentally. The duration of weight loss therapy will depend on the clinical situation of each patient.

It is important that the treatment is carried out and planned by a specialist doctor and that solutions are not sought outside the healthcare field, such as the Internet or home remedies, as it can have a great impact on health.


Obesity is the origin of multiple health problems at various levels: circulatory system (such as hypertension, heart disease), endocrinological (such as diabetes), gastrointestinal, neurological (such as stroke), respiratory (such as sleep apnea), urological (such as chronic kidney failure), osteoarticular (such as back pain), and also causing various types of cancer.
This disease can also have a mental impact on the person, increasing their symptoms of anxiety or depression.

So, if as a society we allocate more resources to diagnosing and treating obesity, we will also be contributing to slowing the advance of other associated pathologies.


Many of the causes of overweight and obesity are preventable and reversible. Although there are other factors, the fundamental cause of obesity is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and expended. Therefore, it can help prevent the disease: reducing fats and sugars; eat more fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts daily; and regular physical exercise (60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes a week for adults).

It can also help to visit a psychologist, in order to prevent or confront the disease, deal with the anxiety that is linked -in many cases- to obesity, and achieve weight loss goals.

To learn more about Obesity, read Dr. Zucchiatti’s article on how CreuBlanca doctors treat this chronic disease:

In the CreuBlanca Obesity and Weight Control Unit, obesity is treated comprehensively, studying the functioning of the body and evaluating the treatment each body responds best to. This way, obesity -and the pathologies associated with it- are eradicated. Make an appointment and consult your case.


Dietetics and Nutrition