The World Health Organization defines obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation presenting a health risk. To establish specific measures to catalog individuals, calculation of body mass index (BMI in English) is required. For this a calculation of weight in kilograms to height in meters squared is used. It considers overweight individuals to have a BMI greater or equal to 25 kilograms per square meter (kg/m2) and obesity as when it is above 30 kg/m2. Also defined as an excess of 20 percent of the ideal weight, and an increase of 45.36 kg or 100 pounds of weight.

Morbid obesity (severe) is defined by taking the conclusions of the meeting of the National Institutes of Health in 1991, in which the concept was established for individuals whose BMI is greater than 40 kg/m2 or 35 kg / m2 in the presence of high-risk comorbidity, directly or indirectly associated with excess weight.


Is obesity an epidemic?

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that 17 million people die each year due to obesity, a growing public health problem worldwide and by 2005 had worldwide approximately 1.6 billion adults (age 15 +) were overweight, 20 million children under 5 years are overweight and at least 400 million obese adults. Also estimated that by 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and 700 million obese.

In the Dominican Republic, from the surveys for the Demographic Health Surveys published in 1998, details the rise of overweight was 18.6% in 1981 to 26% in 1996 in women aged 14 to 49 years of age and obesity increased by 7.3 to 12.1%.

What are the causes of obesity?

Obesity is the result of the interaction of metabolic, genetic, psychological and social factors, becoming the second leading cause of preventable death after smoking.

The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories and spending: a higher income than the body expends or need.

Other associated factors are endocrine, and to a lesser extent a causes such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, hyperandrogenism, polycystic ovary syndrome and insulin resistance, including type II diabetes.

Recent discoveries show hormones and peptides are involved that modulate appetite, fat storage, energy distribution throughout intake and energy balance in humans, such as ghrelin, peptide YY, so as leptin.

The interest in understanding the influence of genes in the development of obesity has risen dramatically in recent years. An estimated 40-70% of the variance related to obesity in humans are due to hereditary factors. The most common forms of obesity in humans are attributed to the interaction of multiple genes, environmental factors and behaviors.

Among the social and psychological factors that have previous treatments for excess weight loss as well as the large number of failed attempts exert an important influence on the self-image of the obese, which shows increasing impairment. The vicious circle is completed between frustration, stress, compulsive eating and weight gain. This may be the key factor causing the patient to not seek help to solve this problem.

What are the consequences and how they relate to other diseases?

Morbid obesity plays a very important role in both the genesis and the worsening of some alterations in the physiology of individuals, just as this is considered as a disease and itself a particular condition that increases both the incidence of morbidity overall and the mortality.

Here are some of the major diseases that obesity plays a major role among many others that is directly or indirectly related.

  1. Metabolic syndrome.
  2. Diabetes mellitus type 2.
  3. Cardiovascular system.
    – Hypertension.
    – Hyperlipidemia.
    – Cardiac arrhythmias.
    – Coronary artery disease (heart attacks and angina).
    – Venous insufficiency.
  4. Sleep Apnea.
  5. Gastroesophageal reflux.
  6. Depression and low self esteem
  7. Musculoskeletal disorders.
    – Lap
    – Back
  8. Relation to Cancer.
  9. Increased Risk of Sudden Death.
  10. Increased incidence of mortality at 10 years.