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Adiposity: definition, risk factors and symptoms

Popular disease overweight: In Germany alone, about 67 percent of all men and 53 percent of all women are overweight. A quarter of them even suffer from pathological overweight, so-called adiposity.1 But what is this actually? And when is one considered adipose?

Adiposity: A definition

Adiposity is the medical term for “obesity”. People who are so overweight that their health is massively impaired are considered obese. Obesity is a recognized chronic disease that can have various causes.

How does Obesity develop?

Obesity does not develop overnight, but over many years. Those who supply their bodies with more energy (calories) over a longer period of time than they consume daily will increase in the long term. Decisive for the increased calorie intake is often an unhealthy or one-sided diet. Highly processed foods with a considerable amount of sugar and fat contribute to the fact that affected people consume more calories than they need. In addition, unhealthy and high-fat foods stimulate the appetite. If you eat mainly these foods, you will often get hungry more quickly and consume much more than you actually need.

However, obesity cannot be measured exactly. The so-called Body Mass Index (BMI), a recommendation of the WHO (World Health Organization), distinguishes four obesity grades. The BMI, however, serves only as a rough guide and is not suitable as a sole diagnostic tool.

What promotes the development of obesity?

In addition to an unhealthy diet, there are other factors that can promote the development of obesity. In particular, lack of exercise combined with a high-calorie diet quickly leads to an increase in body weight. Those who do not exercise enough over a longer period of time and at the same time consume more calories than they burn through physical activity will inevitably increase in the long run.

The genes can also play a role in whether you gain weight faster or whether you can hold your weight more easily. The most important thing is how your body uses the food you eat. Studies show that children with one obese parent have a threefold increased risk of disease and children with two obese parents have a 15-fold increased risk.2

Psychological factors can also play a role. For many people, eating is a form of managing stress or frustration. If the stress and frustration level is permanently too high, this can affect the weight. Hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism and the prolonged use of medication such as insulin or neuroleptics can also increase the risk of obesity.

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Which symptoms are characteristic of adiposity?

An obesity disorder affects the whole body: The more excess pounds the scale displays, the more noticeable the symptoms and side effects become. Especially the stressed joints – such as the hip, knee and ankle joints – suffer from the increased weight. The lower spinal area is also heavily stressed. As a result, the joints wear out faster and patients increasingly complain of back and knee pain.

In addition, the lungs of people suffering from obesity must perform significantly better than those of people with ideal weight. Because the increased body weight leads to the fact that the body needs more oxygen. But despite the increased workload, the lungs are often unable to cope with the oxygen deficit on their own. A chronic oxygen deficiency threatens. In addition, there are short breaks in breathing during sleep (sleep apnea), which favour the oxygen deficiency.

In addition, the heart has to perform considerably better in obesity diseases, because otherwise the full functionality of the blood circulation system is no longer guaranteed. Stronger use of the heart can lead to serious long-term sequelae such as high blood pressure, chronic heart failure and an increased risk of heart attack.

Other symptoms of obesity include fatigue and exhaustion, outbreaks of sweating and low physical resilience. As a result of social isolation associated with obesity, the disease can also lead to depression.

Symptoms

  1. Joint pain
  2. chronic oxygen deficiency
  3. sleep apnea
  4. high blood pressure
  5. chronic heart failure
  6. Fatigue
  7. Exhaustion
  8. weld breakouts
  9. low physical capacity
  10. Depressions

Preventing obesity with a diet plan

Not all risk factors are in our own hands – but our diet is. If you integrate a healthy diet into your everyday life, you can significantly reduce the risk of obesity.

The basic requirement for this is a balanced diet, which includes nutritious but low-calorie meals. Fruits and vegetables, wholemeal products, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds as well as lean meat and fish should not be missing on the nutrition plan.

You should avoid heavily processed foods that are rich in sugar, fat and additives.

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1. Robert Koch-Institut 2014, Studie DEGS1, Erhebung 2008–2011

2. https://www.stiftung-gesundheitswissen.de/wissen/adipositas/hintergrund

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Dr. Tewodros Debebe Aklilu
Head of Science & Co-Founder
Mitgründer und Head of Science bei BIOMES. Im Jahr 2017 promovierte er in Medizinischer Mikrobiologie.
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