Definition of Overweight and Obesity

Table of Contents


Overweight and obesity are widespread health problems throughout the world. They have an especially negative effect on children as they may lead to asthma, heart diseases, diabetes, and excess weight in adulthood. Besides, they may result in inferiority complex or other psychological problems as overweight children often become objects of ridicule to their peers. This paper will give the definitions of these diseases, consider high-risk groups of the population, cover the symptoms and possible complications, and explain how these illnesses are diagnosed.

Definition of Overweight and Obesity

For defining whether a person has overweight or obese, body mass index (BMI) is used. For calculating this figure, one should square the height in meters, and then divide the weight by this product. According to Apovian (2016), “for adults, a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2 is defined as overweight, and a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher is defined as obese”. Children’s BMI is interpreted in another way, using a percentile scale because their fat stores in the organism vary depending on gender and the number of years (Apovian, 2016). Thus, if people know their height and weight, they can easily measure whether they have excess weight.


People become overweight if they consume an extra amount of calories, and they do not expend the whole of them during their vital activity. In this case, the unspent energy results in fat deposits in a body, causing obesity. According to Xu and Xue (2016), children gain weight because they eat and drink many foodstuffs rich in sugar and do little sport. There are also hereditary factors, but lifestyle and diet play a much more significant role in this case.

Clinical Presentation

The most evident symptom of obesity is excess weight and a large amount of subcutaneous fat, especially in the abdominal zone. Furthermore, overweight people suffer from respiratory disorders such as asthma, dyspnea, or sleep apnea (Xu & Xue, 2016). They are also subject to heart diseases and pain in their back or legs. For a child, such problems may seriously interfere with a normal lifestyle.


Obesity can cause a range of complications varying from depression and high blood pressure to heart problems and cancer. As Xu and Xue (2016) argue, being overweight may lead to malignant tumors in the intestines, prostate, and uterus. Besides, children’s obesity may result in diabetes, particularly type 2 (Xu & Xue, 2016). Thus, overweight should be treated as soon as possible to prevent the mentioned problems.


To diagnose obesity and overweight, the already mentioned BMI is applied. However, it is not enough as it does not show what proportions of a person’s weight constitute fat and muscles. For example, an athlete is likely to have a high BMI, which may be interpreted as obesity, but in fact, most of his weight is muscular tissue. For this reason, medics use additional ways of diagnosing overweight such as computed tomography and other techniques allowing them to see a person’s fat-to-muscles ratio.

Conclusion With Picot Question

The issue described in the paper is of considerable significance among all people, but it especially concerns children. To avoid further health problems in their adult life, they should be diagnosed with obesity in time and receive proper treatment. The subject needs profound research as to the right therapy for the disease. The topic of the investigation may be posed in the form of PICOT-question: “In school-age children (P), what are the effects of a community-based jogging program (I) on overweight and obesity rates (O) compared to a home-based nutrition and TV reduction program (C) over a 1-year period (T)?” The answer to this question will provide a more efficient way to cure childhood overweight.


  1. Apovian, C. M. (2016). Obesity: definition, comorbidities, causes, and burden. Am J Manag Care, 22(7), 176-185.
  2. Hruby, A., & Hu, F. B. (2015). The epidemiology of obesity: a big picture. Pharmacoeconomics, 33(7), 673-689.
  3. Xu, S., & Xue, Y. (2016). Pediatric obesity: Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment. Experimental and therapeutic medicine, 11(1), 15-20.

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