Obesity is defined as having too much total body fat and a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. BMI is an estimate of body fat and is calculated from your height and weight. Obesity happens when you consume more calories than you can burn by exercising or performing daily physical tasks. Prolonged obesity can cause major illnesses or emergencies, such as:

  • A stroke.

  • Heart disease.

  • Diabetes.

  • Cancer.

  • Arthritis.

  • High blood pressure (hypertension).

  • High cholesterol.

  • Sleep apnea.

  • Erectile dysfunction.

  • Infertility problems.


  • Regularly eating unhealthy foods.

  • Physical inactivity.

  • Certain disorders, such as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), Cushing's syndrome, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

  • Certain medicines, such as steroids, some depression medicines, and antipsychotics.

  • Genetics.

  • Lack of sleep.


A caregiver can diagnose obesity after calculating your BMI. Obesity will be diagnosed if your BMI is 30 or higher.

There are other methods of measuring obesity levels. Some other methods include measuring your skin fold thickness, your waist circumference, and comparing your hip circumference to your waist circumference.


A healthy treatment program includes some or all of the following:

  • Long-term dietary changes.

  • Exercise and physical activity.

  • Behavioral and lifestyle changes.

  • Medicine only under the supervision of your caregiver. Medicines may help, but only if they are used with diet and exercise programs.

An unhealthy treatment program includes:

  • Fasting.

  • Fad diets.

  • Supplements and drugs.

These choices do not succeed in long-term weight control.


  • Exercise and perform physical activity as directed by your caregiver. To increase physical activity, try the following:

  • Use stairs instead of elevators.

  • Park farther away from store entrances.

  • Garden, bike, or walk instead of watching television or using the computer.

  • Eat healthy, low-calorie foods and drinks on a regular basis. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Use low-calorie cookbooks or take healthy cooking classes.

  • Limit fast food, sweets, and processed snack foods.

  • Eat smaller portions.

  • Keep a daily journal of everything you eat. There are many free websites to help you with this. It may be helpful to measure your foods so you can determine if you are eating the correct portion sizes.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Drink more water and drinks without calories.

  • Take vitamins and supplements only as recommended by your caregiver.

  • Weight-loss support groups, Registered Dieticians, counselors, and stress reduction education can also be very helpful.


  • You have chest pain or tightness.

  • You have trouble breathing or feel short of breath.

  • You have weakness or leg numbness.

  • You feel confused or have trouble talking.

  • You have sudden changes in your vision.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.