Overweight in Adults – Causes, Risk factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

(obesity, pathological obesity)

What does Overweight in Adults Mean

Being overweight or obese means that the weight is above the ideal weight range. Excess weight increases the risk of serious diseases, such as heart disease, certain types of cancer and diabetes.

One of the tools used to calculate the weight range is called “body mass index” (BMI). This scale determines the weight intervals according to the height of the person. Adult BMI levels include the following:

  • Ideal weight interval: 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight: from 25 to 29.9
  • Obesity: 30 or higher
  • Pathological obesity: 40

Overweight in Adults Causes

The cause of overweight lies in ingesting more calories than we use. Calories are ingested through food. All the activities of our body can be done thanks to the calories. These activities include physical activity and basic bodily functions. Excessive weight gain occurs when the balance of this relationship is not maintained. If this imbalance happens regularly, it causes obesity.

Factors that can influence obesity include the following:

  • Genetics.
  • Biological factors: This refers to the amount and activity of certain chemical substances in the body.
    Medications, such as corticosteroids, antidepressants and antipsychotics
  • Hypoactive thyroid.
  • Cushing's disease
  • Ovarian polycystosis.

Overweight in Adults Risk factors

Factors that can increase your chances of getting overweight include the following:

  • Ingestion of large portions of food
  • Sedentary lifestyle: doing very little exercise and spending a lot of time in front of the television or computer
  • Rapid intake of food until you feel satisfied
  • High level of fast food intake
  • Advanced age
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Work in varied shifts
  • Not getting enough sleep

Overweight in Adults Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Weight gain
  • Thickening of the middle section of the body
  • Obvious areas of fat deposits
  • Complications of excessive weight gain

The excessive weight gain is related to the following:

An increased risk of:

  • Early death
  • Heart diseases and strokes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Death by cancer
  • Blood clots
  • Drop
  • Liver disease
  • Gallstones
  • Pancreatitis
  • waterfalls
  • Decrease in quality of life associated with the following:
  • Decrease in energy
  • Sleep apnea
  • Joint problems, back pain
  • Bad self image, depression
  • Infertility

Being overweight can also affect pregnancy. Some complications include high blood pressure, diabetes, complications during delivery or congenital anomalies of the baby.

Overweight in Adults Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You will have a physical exam. Obesity is diagnosed through visual examination and body measurements with:

  • Height and weight tables
  • Body mass index
  • Measurement of body folds with a caliper
  • Measurement of the circumference of the waist
  • Water displacement tests

The doctor may order blood tests to rule out the possibility of other conditions.

Overweight in Adults Treatment

Obesity is difficult to treat. The aspects that affect the treatment are:

  • Cultural factors
  • Personal habits
  • Lifestyle
  • Genetics

You and your doctor will study the best treatment plan for your case. There are several approaches to treating obesity that are based on changes in lifestyle. You are more likely to lose weight without recovering it by using a combination of strategies. These strategies may include a healthy diet, exercise, counseling or medication. Plans to lose weight may include:


Your doctor may recommend that you distribute your caloric intake throughout the day instead of ingesting all of them in a few large meals. You may also need a special diet that does not include specific types of foods. For example, a diet low in fat or carbohydrates.

Consult the doctor or request a referral to a nutritionist. It can help you develop a plan that is best for you.

Calorie intake

The key to losing weight is to reduce the total number of calories you eat. It is not necessary to follow a specific type of diet, for example, a diet low in carbohydrates. It is much more important to choose a low-calorie diet that you can meet for a prolonged period.

A nutritionist can help you with your goal of total calorie intake. Calorie intake is based on your current weight and your goals with respect to weight loss.

The portions, or the size of the portions, also have a fundamental importance. The use of special dishes for portion control can help you succeed.

Food Diary

Keep track of what you eat and what you drink.


Ask your doctor about an exercise program. Even moderate intensity exercises, such as energetic walking, can contribute to weight loss.

There are many ways to incorporate additional activities to the daily routine. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park the car a little further. Limit the amount of time you spend watching television and using the computer, and replace it with physical activity.

Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy can help you understand the following:

When it tends to eat more
Why it tends to eat more
How to combat the tendency to eat more
If combined with diet and exercise, therapy can also contribute to weight loss.

Weight loss programs

Weight loss programs can work well for some people. Some studies also indicate that a partner or a group can help improve eating habits and fitness.


Medications to lose weight, such as orlistat, may be prescribed. Orlistat interferes with the absorption of fats from the intestines. Other medications that can contribute to weight loss are available, but the possible side effects and benefits should be carefully analyzed.

Medications alone are not a viable option for losing weight and not recovering it. Some produce serious side effects. There are also risks related to herbal and over-the-counter products. Talk to your doctor before using any of them.

Bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery reduces the size of the stomach. In some cases, the digestive tract is also rearranged. A smaller stomach can only hold a small portion of food at a time. Some examples of procedures include the following:

  • Gastric bypass
  • Laparoscopic gastric banding

These procedures can be a good option for people who suffer from severe obesity and who have difficulty losing weight by other means.

How to Prevent Overweight in Adults

Controlling your weight can be a difficult task. To reduce your chances of getting overweight, follow these steps:

  1. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about the right amount of calories you should eat daily to maintain a healthy weight or, if necessary, to lose weight.
  2. Learn to eat smaller portions of food. Most Americans consume portions that are too large in size.
  3. Limit the amount of time you spend in sedentary activities. These include watching television or using the computer.
  4. Check with your doctor or a professional who specializes in physical activity about doing some activity in your daily life.

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