Symptoms and Signs of Obesity

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 8/23/2021

Doctor's Notes on Obesity

Obesity is a result of the accumulation of excess fat on the body. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30. The BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. Obesity is considered a chronic disease that has serious long-term health consequences for overall health, and it is a leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.

The main symptom of obesity is excess weight. Being obese can cause or increase the risk of other health problems including

What Is the Treatment for Obesity?

The treatment for obesity is weight loss. Lifestyle changes that can help with weight loss include: 

  • Healthy, balanced diet plans and lifestyles 
    • Low-calorie
    • Low-fat/low-calorie
    • Moderate-fat/low-calorie
    • Low-carbohydrate diets
    • Vegan/whole-food plant-based diet
    • Mediterranean diet
    • Intermittent fasting
  • Regular exercise should be part of any weight loss plan
    • Aerobic activity
    • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week
      • A mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity works as well
      • Exercise activity should perform at least 10 minutes at a time, preferably spread throughout the week
    • Strength training
      • 2 or more days per week
      • Work all major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms
      • Repeat exercises for each muscle group 8 to 12 times per set
      • Increase workout weight slowly as strength grows
  • Behavioral modification
    • Intensive psychological or behavior therapy
    • Monitoring food intake by keeping a log or journal, physical activity, and controlling things in your environment that trigger eating

For people unable to lose weight with lifestyle changes and exercise, medical and surgical options include:

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.