Diet and Nutrition

How Is Obesity Diagnosed?

How is Obesity Diagnosed?

A person is said to be obese if his or her body has stored too much fat in excess that might lead to serious medical complications. If a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI) falls between 25 and 29.9, they are considered to be overweight. If the BMI is 30 or above, he or she is declared to be obese.


Diagnostic Considerations

There are several other conditions that should be considered when diagnosing obesity. They are:

  • Mesomorphic body states
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Fatty Liver
  • Polygenic Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hirsutism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and Kallmann syndrome
  • Insulinoma
  • Stein-Leventhal syndrome (Polycystic ovarian disease)
  • Dercum disease (Adiposa dolorosa)
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Partial lipodystrophies in combination with localized lipohypertrophy

With regard to mesomorphic body states, there are cases where a person’s BMI is high, but he or she is not considered to be unhealthy. For example, body builders and people who undergo heavy work outs on a daily basis may not be considered overweight, even if their BMI indicates that they are overweight. Increased muscle mass can increase their BMI, but this does not make them fall under the category of overweight or obese. Careful clinical evaluation is required in this case before one is declared to be obese.

Tests conducted during obesity diagnosis

A doctor will perform a number of tests when diagnosing obesity.  The following are the most common tests:

          i.            Health history

Knowing the patient’s health history in detail is usually the doctor’s first step in the diagnostic process. The doctor will try to find out everything they can about the patient. This includes the patient’s weight history, lifestyle, family health history, eating habits, medical history, and any other relevant information.

        ii.            Other health complications

The doctor will try to find out if the patient has any other health problems apart from obesity and evaluate if necessary. He or she will also be checked for any other conditions that have possibly arisen as a result of obesity, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

       iii.            Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI involves calculating the patient’s weight over height. The patient’s BMI will determine whether he or she is overweight or obese. This will help the doctor in deciding the appropriate treatment to be given to the patient depending on the overall health risk. This is usually the most common method of determining whether the patient is obese or overweight. This information is then combined with the results from other tests to identify any possible risk of developing other weight-related health conditions.

Body Mass Index (BMI) for Adults

Body Mass Index (BMI) for adults is calculated using a BMI calculator. The BMI have been ranged in the following manner:

  • 18.5 to 24.9 is said to be normal weight.
  • 25.0 to 29.9 means the subject is overweight.
  • 30.0 to 39.9 means the subject is obese.
  • 40.0 and above is said to be a severe case of obesity.

It is important to note that BMI alone is not enough to detect obesity in all cases, because it does not measure body fat only. For example, it can show a high number because a person has big muscles and not excess fat. For this reason, it is best to combine BMI with other tests for accurate results.

BMI for Children and Teens

BMI calculation for children of age 2 years and above and teens is a little different from the BMI for adults. Here are the characteristics that make it different:

  • Apart from height and weight, it also includes age and sex in the calculation.
  • The results for BMI for children and teens are listed as a percentage and not as numbers.
  • The BMI percentage states the child’s or teenager’s BMI with respect to other children of the same age and sex.
  • If the BMI percentage is between 5 and 84.9, the child is said to be of healthy weight.
  • BMI percentage between 85 and 95 indicates that the child is overweight.
  • The child is considered to be obese if the BMI percentage is above 95.

       iv.            General physical examination

The doctor will physically examine the patient for any important signs related to obesity. These signs may include body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure among others.

       v.            Waist circumference

The amount of fat around the waist says a lot about the general body weight of a person. The fat in the waist alone can increase the chance of developing weight-related health complications. Men with a waistline of more than 40 inches and women with a waistline of more than 35 inches are said to be overweight and are prone to serious health complications compared to men and women with smaller waistlines.

      vi.            Blood tests

The doctor might recommend a number of blood tests, depending on the outcome of the other diagnostic methods. Some of these blood tests are thyroid tests, liver functionality tests, cholesterol tests, and fasting glucose tests.

A successful diagnosis depends on the effectiveness of the tests that are being carried out. The information gathered from all these tests will determine the suitable treatment options for the patient.


Causes of Obesity

The intake of calories more than your body could burn through physical activities is the general cause of obesity. The excess calories that are not used end up being stored in the body as fats, and this leads to weight gain and eventually obesity.

At present, obesity has become a major health concern in the world. People have adopted the modern lifestyle that involves unhealthy eating habits, such as the consumption of fast foods that are high in calories. A lot of people have also become physically inactive. This is due to the presence of stationery work places and schools. Easy transport and comfortable chairs have encouraged spending more hours of the day sitting.

However, there are other factors that contribute to obesity. Some of these factors include diseases, side effects from medications, and genes. Obesity can be transferred from parents to children. If family members are obese, the children are also at a higher risk of becoming obese at a tender age.

Obesity can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle. Being physically active and adopting a balanced diet can go a long way in keeping obesity at bay. A healthy diet involves a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits, and minimum intake of sugar and salt.

Thirty minutes of workouts on most days can also help one maintain a healthy body weight. Other preventive measures involve drinking plenty of water, keeping away from processed foods, and having adequate sleep for about 6 to 8 hours a day. You can always do more research and get as much information as you can on obesity.


When to Seek Medical Advice

Visit your health practitioner or any other doctor if you feel like you have symptoms of obesity or other weight related problems. Your doctor will help you come up with the best treatment plan.