Metabolic Phenotype and Complications Associated with Obesity

Reviewed by: | Author: Manoja Kalakanti

A condition known as obesity involves having too much body fat. Obesity is more than simply a visual issue. Although there is no proper obesity definition, it is said that it is a medical condition that raises the chance of various illnesses and conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some malignancies. There are numerous reasons why some people struggle to lose weight. Obesity typically develops from a combination of dietary, physiological, and environmental factors, exercise, physical activity, and lifestyle choices. The good news is that even a tiny amount of weight loss can help or even stop the health issues linked to obesity. You can lose weight by changing your behavior, increasing your physical activity, and eating healthier. Additional alternatives for managing obesity include prescription drugs and weight-loss techniques. A person with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of 35 or higher, with obesity-related health issues, is said to have class III obesity, earlier referred to as morbid obesity.

Urbanization and Obesity

Urbanization and obesity:

When a person weighs more than is healthy for their height, obesity is a complex condition that manifests itself. Both adults and children are affected by obesity. Eating habits, physical activity levels, and sleep schedules are just a few variables that might lead to excessive weight gain—Genetics, social factors of health, and using specific medications all impact. There are plenty of causes of obesity; however, with the fast-growing pace of urbanization, it has become a significant contributor in causing obesity among people. According to WHO, over 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of these, over 650 million adults were obese. Causes of obesity due to urbanization:

1. Social determinants of health:

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the circumstances in which we live, learn, work, and play. If these factors do not promote health, choosing nutritious foods and obtaining adequate exercise may be challenging. Among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups as well as in various geographic locations and people with different physical capacities, differences in SDOH affect the outcomes and risks of chronic diseases, including obesity. Through the foods and beverages they supply and the chances for physical exercise they give, settings like childcare centres, schools, or communities impact the children’s eating habits and activity.

2. Increased intake of high-calorie foods:

While there are fewer open markets and farm stalls in urban areas, more international supermarkets and fast-food chains provide easy access to processed meals, high-calorie snacks, candies, and sugary beverages.

3. Massive declination in work-related physical activity:

With most jobs progressively inclining towards desk and chair set-up, the working class has had a massive decrease in physical activity. Earlier, most of the population was engaged in activities such as farming which ensured sufficient exercise to burn excess fat.

4. Increased passive transportation:

Modes of transport have changed lately. With the sudden splurge in the availability of public transportation, many people have yet to abandon the idea of travelling on cycles or foot. This is another significant contributing factor to obesity. Tremendous amounts of fat are burnt in simple body movements such as walking or jogging, and the absence of the same will significantly show on the person’s body.

Complications of obesity in adults:

It’s crucial to remember that many of these disorders are also influenced by genetics and lifestyle choices; thus, a person need not have an obese diagnosis to have one of these problems. However, if obesity is considered a significant issue, losing weight can minimize or entirely avoid many of these consequences.

1. Cholesterol:

Your body creates cholesterol, which is a waxy, fatty molecule. A certain amount is necessary to function, but too much can lead to health problems like heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. Your diet might affect your cholesterol levels as well. Although having excess body weight or being obese can raise your risk of having high cholesterol, people of any size can have high cholesterol. For example, if a person loses 5 to 10 percent of their total weight, their cholesterol levels may decrease.

2. High blood pressure:

When the blood travels through the veins and arteries at a pressure greater than usual, this condition is known as high blood pressure or hypertension in the medical world. In addition to other problems, individuals who have high blood pressure may also be susceptible to the following:

  • Heart condition
  • Chest pain
  • Stroke
  • Kidney illness

In addition to genetics, obesity, and high blood pressure are linked.

3. Type 2 diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes is a medical disorder in which the body does not create enough insulin, a hormone required to transport sugar into your cells, and the cells do not respond well to insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is influenced by a person’s age, family history, and lifestyle choices. Type 2 diabetes is more likely to develop in people who are overweight, yet your health can improve even a little.

4. Stroke:

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is unexpectedly interrupted. Blood vessels that have ruptured or been blocked may cause this. Obesity-related problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea can all raise the risk of stroke. For example, the risk of stroke more than doubled with obesity. Additionally, those with a BMI that indicates severe obesity have a tenfold higher risk of stroke than those with a normal BMI.

5. Sleep apnea:

Breathing interruptions during sleep are a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), often known as sleep apnea. Obesity is a common risk factor for OSA and may be influenced by several health factors, including age and genetics. Obesity can result in neck fat deposits that restrict the upper airway when you sleep. The airway obstruction during sleep may contribute to or exacerbate snoring, gasping, or snorting. In addition, lack of treatment for sleep apnea can raise your risk of:

  • Heart condition
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes type 2
  • Depression

Metabolic Syndrome and its Effects on Obesity:

A group of risk factors that are particularly associated with cardiovascular disease are referred to as metabolic syndrome. The chance of acquiring diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or any combination of them is significantly increased by metabolic syndrome.

To stay within the safe or permissible limits of obesity, the advised waist circumference is below 31.5 inches for women and 37 inches for men. A female’s waist circumference ranging between 31.5 inches to 35 inches and men’s ranging between 37 to 40 inches is considered as moderate risk.

To qualify, a person must have a waist circumference greater than 80 cm for women and 90 cm for males. The type of obesity most closely associated with metabolic syndrome has an enlarged waist circumference. Therefore, in a way, obesity and metabolic syndrome go hand in hand together.

Men (35%) are slightly more likely to be obese than women (40%). Specific areas of women’s health, such as fertility, PCOS, hormonal shifts, and menopause, are impacted by obesity. Moreover, the prenatal period vastly affects the obesity levels in a female body, further potentially causing metabolic syndrome along with other diseases caused by obesity.

In pregnancy, however, the changes in the body resemble metabolic syndrome such as insulin sensitivity, inflammation, weight gain etc.

Obesity prevalence has increased, and it is now a serious global health issue affecting adults, children, and adolescents. Furthermore, atherosclerosis in adults is positively and independently correlated with overall adiposity and truncal subcutaneous fat accumulation throughout adolescence. While the distribution of body fat in a peripheral pattern is physiologically less significant, the central collection of body fat is linked to insulin resistance. A significant drop in life expectancy is linked to obesity. Extreme obesity has a more significant negative impact on mortality in younger people than older adults. In this regard, obesity is linked to a higher risk of developing several cancers.


A persistent medical disease called obesity is brought on by too much visceral fat. It could increase your risk of getting diabetes and heart disease, among other illnesses. Medication and lifestyle modifications are two possible treatments. It may occasionally require surgery. Surgery for weight loss, though, is not a quick remedy. Major surgery carries significant hazards. In addition, people who have surgery must alter their eating habits after that or run the risk of becoming ill.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is obesity?

A condition known as obesity involves having too much body fat. Obesity is more than simply a visual issue. It is a medical condition that raises the chance of various illnesses and conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

2. What foods cause obesity?

Foods that are known to cause obesity are sodas, ice creams, pizza, cookies and doughnuts, potato-based food, sugary foods and packaged fruit juices, among many others.

3. Can obesity cause high blood pressure?

Yes. Hypertension, which can be brought on by obesity, raises the risk of disability and mortality. A hormone called leptin is released into the bloodstream by fat tissue, and it sends messages to the hypothalamus, a region of the brain.

4. How do you test your obesity?

There are multiple ways to test obesity, such as:

  • Body mass index or BMI
  • Waist circumference test
  • Body fat measurement
  • Waist to Hip ratio
  • Blood tests
5. What are the weight loss blood tests?

There are certain blood tests that help you determine the root cause of your weight gain. They are liver profile tests, lipid profiles, complete thyroid tests, diabetes or insulin profile tests, iron tests, vitamin D tests, sex hormone tests etc.

6. How to lose weight in 7 days?

Some ways to lose weight are by

  • consuming fewer carbs and more proteins
  • Avoiding processed foods
  • Reducing calorie intake
  • Staying active even outside the gym
  • Staying hydrated.
7. How does obesity cause diabetes?

Insulin resistance and diabetes are closely related to obesity. Non-esterified fatty acids, glycerol, hormones, cytokines, proinflammatory markers, and other compounds that are involved in the development of insulin resistance are present in higher amounts in obese people.

8. How does obesity cause erectile dysfunction?

Inflammation levels in the body are elevated in obesity. This pro-inflammatory state can disrupt the endothelium layer, which lines the blood vessels, and the endocrine system, leading to erectile dysfunction.

9. Can stress and anxiety cause obesity?

Yes. Stress and anxiety cannot directly cause obesity, but they might indirectly contribute to certain behaviours that may result in weight gain, such as overeating or making bad dietary decisions.

10. How does obesity affect pregnancy in women?

Pregnant women who are obese may experience a variety of negative effects on their health as well as the health of the growing fetus. It increases the risks of complications, reduces the possibility of normal delivery, and increases complications at birth.

Download App

Get our wellness newsletter

Health and Diet tips, Fitness,
Beauty and more.