What are the Most Common Signs of Obesity?

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  • Written By: Kelly Ferguson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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There are many signs of obesity beyond simply a person's weight. Obesity can cause a number of symptoms related to and resulting from having too much body fat. Usually, obese people exhibit at least a few outward characteristics such as physical exertion and discomfort, and may also be experiencing health problems related to weight.

The first and most obvious of the signs of obesity is an excess of body fat. To be classified as obese, a person must generally have a body mass index (BMI) of over 30. BMI is the number that is the result of taking the person's weight in kilograms and dividing it by his or her height in meters squared. Very fit, muscular people may technically have a BMI of over 30 because of heavy muscle mass, but to be truly obese, one must have an accumulation of a very large amount of body fat.

More signs of obesity may include the physical characteristics associated with the condition. Obese people tend to have a very large abdominal circumference. They also are much more likely to become overheated and to perspire under what would typically be non-strenuous conditions. This is often due both to the insulating effects of body fat but also the extra exertion required to move. Sometimes, the friction, heat, and moisture can cause soreness or rashes in areas with large skin folds.


Diseases can be some of the more grim signs of obesity. Many obese individuals suffer from illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Snoring and sleep apnea are also common indications of obesity, because as individuals gain weight, it becomes more difficult to breathe normally while sleeping. This difficulty sleeping combined with the aforementioned exertion during movement often lead to fatigue and a lack of energy.

The body of an obese individual is put under various forms of stress that the bodies of people of a lower weight do not have to deal with. Joint and muscle pain can frequently result from the body's effort to support the extra body weight. Some people also suffer from muscle fatigue and weakness. Obese individuals may have difficulty standing or walking for a long period of time and experience a significant lack of the cardiovascular endurance needed to complete daily tasks because of these issues. Lack of energy and cardiovascular endurance tend to create a vicious cycle that contributes to more weight gain, because they make exercise attempts very unpleasant or nearly impossible experiences.



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