Is Obesity A Disease Or Condition? Diseases Caused Due To Obesity

Globally, the prevalence of obesity is on the rise. Obesity is not a disease in itself but is often considered to be closely linked with the development of other non communicable disorders like cardiovascular disorders and diabetes. Obesity is also linked with reduced life span. Effective management of obesity is crucial to prevent premature death.

Statistics from the United States have indicated that over the past two decades, the prevalence of obesity in the United States has risen drastically. Currently about one third of the adult population in United States is obese.

As per the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the latest statistics of United States indicates that all the states across the country have a minimum obesity prevalence of twenty percent.

What Is Obesity, A Condition Or Disease?

Obesity is defined as a medical condition which is characterized by excessive deposition of body fat to the extent that it can have an implication on the health and well being of an individual. Obesity can result in reduced life expectancy and is associated with development of a wide range of non-communicable and degenerative disorders.

Body Mass Index is a technique which compares the height of the individual to his weight and helps define if a person is obese.

If the body mass index is in the range of 25 to 30, the individual is considered to be overweight. In case the body mass index is in excess of 30, the person is labeled to be obese.

As per the world health organization, obesity is considered to be a global public health problem. As per the International Classification of Disease, Obesity is considered to be a disease condition and is categorized under the E66 protocol of the ICD code.

Several contributors have been identified which can result in obesity. These include endocrinal disorders, inadequate sleep, increased use of medication, lack of physical activity, genetics, faulty dietary practices, etc.

Diseases That Can Be Caused By Obesity

Clinically however obesity itself is not considered to be a disease condition. This is primarily because obesity itself doesn’t result in morbidity or mortality. However obesity tends to increase the risk of development of a wide range of mental and physical conditions. Obesity can result in the following health implications which includes,

  • Cardiology condition: These include Ischemic Heart Disease, Myocardial Infarction, Congestive Cardiac Failure, Hypertension, Abnormal Cholesterol levels, Deep Vein Thrombosis, etc.
  • Endocrinal disorders: These include Diabetes Mellitus, Polycystic ovarian disease, Menstrual irregularities, Infertility, Birth defects, etc.
  • Neurological conditions: Stroke, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Migraines, intracranial hypertension, etc.
  • Orthopedic conditions: These include lower back pain, Osteoarthritis, Gout, etc.
  • Psychological conditions: Depression and Social Stigmatization.

Why Obesity Is Not A Disease?

Obesity hence itself is not a disease condition, but it increases the risk of development of other co morbidities described above which in turn are actually associated with morbidity and mortality.

There is considerable amount of ambiguity over whether to categorize obesity as a disease or not. Obesity is a relatively recent phenomenon which has been recognized by the WHO as a global epidemic. Estimates suggest that about 10% of the world’s population is obese. Further obesity is more frequently observed among elderly individuals and females. The developed world is experiencing obesity much more than the developing world.

As of now, Obesity is not a disease, but a factor that tends to increase the risk of development of a wide range of health problems which have long term morbidity and associated with mortality.