What is Obesity: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health


5 min read


With 40% of India’s population suffering from obesity, it is a growing concern. Leading a healthy and active lifestyle can prevent obesity. Timely diagnosis can make obesity treatment more effective.

Key Takeaways

  • Obesity can increase your risk of a number of health conditions
  • A sedentary lifestyle is one of the most common obesity causes
  • Obesity treatment includes lifestyle changes, medicine, surgery

Obesity is a growing problem that has affected most of our country's population. Recent statistics show that around 40% of the nation's population suffers from obesity [1]. To start, do you know what obesity is and what obesity causes? When your body has too much fat, it may lead to obesity. In simple terms, when you consume more calories than you use, you are at a greater risk of obesity. Being obese is different from being overweight. Being overweight can be a result of excess muscle, fat, or water retention too.

While there are many obesity causes, the primary factor that leads to obesity is a sedentary lifestyle. Not being active enough, when coupled with stress and unhealthy habits, has a huge negative impact on your body. When you are obese, you are also more vulnerable to other health conditions that affect your heart, cause diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.

It is very easy to overlook initial obesity symptoms like lack of sweat or too much sweating. This can lead to further complications as obesity worsens your health over time. Taking swift measures consistently can help you benefit from obesity treatment. Read on to know more.

Obesity Causes and Risk Factors

Leading a sedentary and unhealthy life is one of the most common causes of obesity. When you do less physical activity and consume more fat, your body stores more than the amount it uses. This ultimately leads to weight gain, which may then result in obesity. An unhealthy lifestyle consists of eating junk food that is fattening and has a high-calorie content. It also means drinking beverages and having regular processed food that consists of more sugar. Inadequate sleep and poor stress management are other obesity causes. Other than this, your age may also put you at a higher risk of obesity.

Apart from lifestyle, your genetics and medical history may also be considered as obesity causes. Say your parents or immediate relatives have or have had obesity. This can be one of the obesity causes for you as genes and lifestyle habits can directly affect the way your body stores and distribute the fat you consume. Certain medications to treat health conditions can also lead to obesity.

Additional Read: 7 Fat Burning Foods For Weight Lossobesity

Obesity Symptoms

Apart from knowing obesity causes, keep an eye on common obesity symptoms to stop this issue in its tracks. A primary and most prevalent obesity symptom is weight gain. Since weight gain is usually gradual and visible only after a while, you may overlook it. While a little weight gain is acceptable, a continuous pattern can indicate other health issues like obesity.

Apart from weight gain, you may notice these common obesity symptoms 

  • Breathlessness, even after small physical activity 
  • Sleep apnea, snoring, or sleep troubles 
  • More sweating than is normal
  • Feelings of constant fatigue
  • Pain in the joints and back 
  • Excess and visible weight gain near your waist 
  • Stretch marks and other skin problems 
  • Deposit of fatty tissues, especially around the chest  
  • Low self-esteem or depression

Keep in mind that obesity symptoms may differ or overlap in adults and teens or children. It is best to talk to a doctor if you or a loved one is feeling any of these or related obesity symptoms.

tips to prevent Obesity

Obesity Diagnosis

Once you know obesity causes and common obesity symptoms, the diagnosis is primarily made by assessing your weight and lifestyle. Once a doctor checks your weight and BMI, they may also ask about your eating and exercise habits, family medical history, and medication. You may need to answer questions relating to your stress levels, work routine, genetics, and even supplements. So, be prepared with all the information beforehand. Doctors ask about all this so that they can better understand the underlying obesity causes. This helps them create an obesity treatment plan that reduces the causes and focuses on losing weight.

Obesity Treatment 

Your obesity treatment will be mainly focused on treating the underlying obesity causes. The treatment will work over a period of time and may not give quick results. So, be patient! Generally, a doctor's advice on treating obesity will include the following measures.

Lifestyle changes 

Obesity is often a result of an unhealthy and inactive life. As a result, the treatment for obesity will focus on helping you adopt a healthier and more active routine. This includes a proper exercise schedule and a balanced diet.


Medication is not a primary obesity treatment but can help reduce appetite and fat absorption and manage any eating disorders.


This is often the last resort for obesity treatment. The surgery for obesity is known as bariatric surgery. It modifies your biological factors to help you lose weight and maintain it for a longer period. Research shows that bariatric surgery for obesity can help maintain 50-60% of weight loss for 10-14 years [2].

Additional Read: Keto Diet For a Healthy Life

Undiagnosed and untreated obesity can make you more vulnerable to a range of health conditions. And you can diagnose and start treating obesity even at home. Keep all the common obesity causes in mind, and make sure you don't ignore any of the major obesity symptoms. You can also calculate your BMI, and if the results suggest obesity, you can visit a doctor. Though BMI is not an exact measure for everyone, it can give you an estimate to check for cues of obesity. One thing that you need to keep in mind is that just having a high cholesterol level does not indicate obesity. But as it is one of the signs of obesity, you should keep an eye on it too!

Getting a cholesterol test regularly will help you monitor it better and if you see any high cholesterol symptoms, talk to a doctor. You can get a doctor's consultation and a lab test done through Bajaj Finserv Health. Simply book an online or in-clinic appointment to consult with top doctors and book a lab test with sample pick-up from home. This way, you can get guidance to keep obesity and other health concerns at bay.

Published on 7 Jul 2022Last updated on 24 Feb 2023
  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0972753120987465
  2. https://uihc.org/health-topics/how-effective-bariatric-surgery#

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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