Synonyms in a broader sense

Medical: Obesity
Obesity, obesity, obesity

These terms are used in Germany equivalent to the term Obesity second hand. The term Obesity is no longer used because it can have a discriminatory effect and is also medically incorrect.

All terms describe people who are “heavier” than others and usually have increased body fat. One speaks of being overweight when that body weight, judged by the Body mass index (BMI) is increased. According to the BMI, a distinction is made between

  • Underweight
  • Normal weight
  • Obesity and
  • Obesity

Body mass index

Of the Body mass index is a calculated value that can be used to assess whether and, if so, how much Obesity a person has. The body mass index (BMI) is determined by the WHO (World Health Organization) recommended as a guideline. Of the Body mass index is calculated from body height and weight and therefore disregards gender, stature and age and may only be used in adults. The Body Mass Index doesn't give that much detail, however Obesity because the body composition is not taken into account.

Detailed information on the calculation and application can be found under Body mass index.


Basically it can become one Fat deposit and obesity only come about if the energy intake with food is higher than the energy consumption, i.e. at positive energy balance.
However, there is an individually different one Tilt to overweight, one familial accumulation is evidently being a genetic disposition
(Disposition) is suspected. Of course, the influence of the environment (lifestyle with regard to nutrition and exercise) and the role model function of the parents must also be taken into account.

The Genetic research was able to use animal models (environmental influences can largely be excluded here) genetic defects describe who have provided groundbreaking insights into human obesity. One discovered the so-called. ob-gene and its product leptin (Greek Leptos = slim). If the test animals lacked biologically active leptin, they were too fat and ate too much compared to their fellow animals.

In humans, there are three models used in studies of heredity:

  • Family examination
  • Adoption studies and
  • Twin research.

The type, amount and quality of the food consumed seems to be environmental and due to the Role model function To be learned from parents, siblings and other caregivers.
Eating behavior and eating habits as well as the likes and dislikes for certain foods are in the Acquired childhoodwhile a reduced energy consumption (Basal metabolic rate, thermogenesis (body heat), physical activity) can be inherited and is genetically determined. However, being overweight does not mean an increased amount of fat. Too high a percentage of muscle mass is also called Obesity designated.

Risks and Consequences

A prolonged increased weight / obesity is usually associated with a variety of diseases, symptoms, complaints and impairments. There are physical, psychological and social consequences of being overweight:

  1. There is a significantly increased risk of death.
    From a body mass index (BMI)> 27 it increases significantly, from a body mass index (BMI)> 32 it is increased several times.
  2. The quality of life is often significantly reduced. This relates to physical impairments and social relationships.
  3. Overweight (obesity) often has negative effects on acceptance in school, training and when looking for a partner.
  4. Self-esteem and satisfaction decrease and have a negative effect on the mental state.
  5. Overweight people are twice as likely to retire early as people of normal weight.
  6. Overweight / obesity now accounts for up to 10% of the medical costs in industrialized countries. Doctors and insurance experts are warning of a collapse in health systems due to the rapid increase in obesity and the treatment of secondary diseases.
    These are primarily diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, joint diseases and colon cancer.
    However, this will soon no longer be financially viable in this form. In the future, more and more importance will have to be attached to preventive nutrition and exercise programs, ideally starting in kindergartens and schools.

Please also read our article on this

  • Consequences of being overweight
  • Osteoarthritis and obesity

Development of obesity

Critical life phases for the development of obesity

Overweight (Obesity) can arise at any age. However, there are phases in which a changed energy requirement occurs and the risk of becoming overweight is particularly high.

  1. puberty
    Growth slows down, the body needs less energy. Hormonal changes can also affect fat metabolism. The risk of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia is particularly high during this time.
  2. pregnancy
    The energy requirement of the pregnant woman is only slightly increased. Only from the 4th month onwards, only about 300 calories more are needed every day.
    Dinner for two“During pregnancy does not mean to eat more for two, but to eat the right thing for two. So, more protein and sufficient vitamins, trace elements and minerals. The Weight Gain During Pregnancy should be about 11 kg overweight.
    Please also read: Diet in Pregnancy
  3. From the age of forty
    Energy consumption decreases with advancing age. If, in accordance with this reduction in demand, the energy supply in the form of food is not adjusted, but eating habits are retained unchanged with increasing age, then a Obesity result. This risk of being overweight is increased to a considerable extent by reducing the urge to move. During this phase, the hormonal balance changes. The metabolism slows down, the basal metabolic rate drops.
  4. Menopause (menopause)
    develop a significant after menopause Increase in Waist circumference. They put more fat in the abdomen and on the upper half of the body. Whether this increase is due to hormonal or other causes is discussed and so far there are no confirmed findings.

Reduce excess weight

There are a lot of articles published in the media about how to lose excess weight quickly. But with such crash diets there is often the threat of the yo-yo effect, i.e. as soon as the diet is over, the body weight increases rapidly again. It is therefore particularly important to change your behavior with regard to diet and exercise in order to lose excess weight and to be able to keep the reduced body weight constant over the long term.

What might also interest you: Lose weight on the stomach

The important thing is not to lose excess weight quickly, but to lose weight healthily by changing eating habits and increasing exercise, which should be adapted to the individual body. It is also important to include everyone in the household (partner, family) in the changeover. Psychotherapeutic support can also help to identify the reasons for being overweight and to increase the motivation to lose weight.

Negative energy balance

Weight loss is based on a negative energy balance, i.e. the energy consumed must be higher than the energy supplied with food. The energy consumed per day is made up of the basal metabolic rate (amount of energy that the body needs to maintain the basic functions) and the output (amount of energy that is consumed by additional processes such as physical activity, heat regulation, etc.). The basal metabolic rate depends on many factors, including Gender, age, physique and can only be influenced to a limited extent. The performance turnover, however, can e.g. can be increased through regular physical activity.

Change in energy intake

  • Reduction diet:
    The goal is a healthy and balanced diet, whereby the calorie intake per day should be at least 500kcal less than the energy consumed during the day. A guideline is the maximum total calorie intake of approx. 1200 kcal / d during weight reduction. The individual calorie intake should, however, be agreed with the treating doctor / nutritionist.
    Important principles for nutrition are: low in fat, high in protein, high in fiber. Below are some simple methods that can help you save calories in everyday life:

    - Refrain from sweetened drinks (lemonades, iced tea, fruit juices, etc.), instead drink sufficient amounts of water and unsweetened tea (at least 2-3 liters / day)
    - Avoid quickly available carbohydrates (white bread, sweets, pastries, etc.), prefer whole grain products instead
    - No alcohol (high calorie content!)
    - Replacement of saturated fatty acids (especially animal products) with polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g. in vegetable products, fish)

    In particular, if you are very overweight or obese, you should definitely consult a doctor or nutritionist in order to work out appropriate nutrition plans for the individual patient and to give detailed advice on weight reduction options.

  • Weight Loss Drugs:
    There is also the option of using certain medications (Almased) to support weight loss. The drug options for weight loss include 3 groups of substances: appetite suppressants, bulking agents and fat blockers. However, no drug alone leads to weight loss and certain side effects must always be expected.

    Read more on the subject at: Diet pills

  • Surgical intervention options:
    The area of ​​bariatric surgery deals with operations on the gastrointestinal tract that are intended to help obese patients lose weight (e.g. gastric balloon, gastric band, etc.).
    All interventions serve either to restrict the capacity of the stomach in order to limit the amount of food consumed or to reduce the absorption of certain food components (e.g. fats) in order to limit the number of calories consumed.

Please also read: Metabolic Balance

Change in energy consumption:

In order to lose excess weight, you have to Energy consumption always above energy consumption lie. It is recommended to increase this consumption through physical activity. In addition to weight loss has regular moderate physical activity (at least 30 minutes of brisk walking 3 times a week) further advantages:

  • stress will be dismantled
  • the risk for Cardiovascular diseases sinks
  • the risk for Cancers sinks
  • the bone mass is increased
  • the cognitive skills improve (memory, coordination, balance)
  • the immune system is strengthened
  • the ratio of LDL ("bad") and HDL- ("good") cholesterol will be improved

Different lead sports at different intensities to different levels of energy consumption. So is the energy consumption with sedentary work per hour at about 120kcal, while Cycling around 200-800kcal per hour consumed and Jog about 600-1000kcal.

Which sport is best suited for the respective patient always has to be carefully considered become. Because especially with overweight people it is important to do sports that are easy on the joints (swim, Walking, etc.) to be preferred to a excessive joint wear to prevent. In addition, endurance sports should always be combined with strength exercises Musculature build up and counteract bad posture.

Before starting the sport, one is recommended medical examination regarding resilience of the patient. Performance diagnostics can also avoid training in an unfavorable area (anaerobic). The goal is always that aerobic exercisewhere the energy is completely provided by processes of combustion with oxygen. For example, based on the pulse (Heart rate) an area can be determined where the optimal training success is achieved.


The Causes of Obesity (Obesity) are individually different.

Causes can be:

  • Increased energy intake (too many food)
  • inactivity (Laziness / indolence)
  • low energy consumption (basal metabolic rate, thermogenesis, physical activity)
  • psychological components
  • psychosocial aspects
  • hormonal factors and
  • Phases of life with different energy consumption

are the most common triggers. Genetic Syndromes as the cause Rare. In some cases, obesity arises as a result of other diseases (secondary obesity) and as a side effect of medication. In severe cases of obesity, a Stomach reduction should be considered.

-> Read on about the causes of obesity

Further information

Further information on the subject of obesity is available at:

  • Obesity
  • Lose weight
  • Body mass index
  • Forms of obesity
  • Overweight in children
  • Lose weight on the stomach
  • Determination of body fat
  • Assessment of body weight
  • Obesity and psychology
  • Obesity causes
  • Weight training and weight loss

Further general information that may also be of interest to you:

  • Determination of body fat
  • Adipose tissue
  • Assessment of body weight
  • Calorie-conscious diet
  • Wholesome nutrition
  • Nutritional therapy
  • eating disorder
  • Appetite suppressants
  • Underweight
  • Body measurements
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Nutritional advice

All topics that have been published in the field of internal medicine can be found under: Internal Medicine A-Z