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What causes obesity and what are the benefits of weight loss?

Obesity and the causes

Obesity is an increasingly common health issue today in the UK, with it affecting one in three adults and around one in five children between the ages of 10 and 11.


How do I know if I’m obese?

The term ‘obesity’ is used to describe someone who is very overweight and who holds a lot of excess body fat.

When health professionals look at whether to consider someone obese, they do this in one of two ways:



Body Mass Index (BMI) is the primary indicator used by bariatric surgeons to assess a patient’s suitability for procedures and to monitor post-procedure weight loss.

  • 18.5 to 24.9 means a healthy weight
  • 25 to 29.9 means overweight
  • 30 to 39.9 means obese
  • 40 or above means severely obese

Not sure what your BMI is? Use our BMI Calculator to find out.


Waist measurement

By measuring the circumference of someone’s waist you can get a more accurate image as to whether they are to be considered obese or overweight, when married with the BMI measurement.

On average, the male waist circumference is 94cm (37in) and the female waist circumference is 80cm (31.5in).

If you have a BMI of above 25 and your waist is circumference measures above the average, then it would be generally considered that you would be overweight.


What are the causes of obesity?

There are many reasons for obesity:

Extra calories

The average, physically active, male should take in about 2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight and a woman should have about 2,000 a day. When this amount is exceeded or there is no physical activity to use the calories, then this extra energy is stored as fat.


Lack of exercise

Most jobs are considered to be sedentary, meaning that they involve little to no physical activity, such as sitting at a desk and driving to work. As well as work life involving little exercise, people often turn to watching TV, browsing the internet or playing computer games as part of their relaxation during their free time rather than engaging in regular physical activity.

The Department of Health advises that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, like cycling or fast walking, every week, that doesn’t need to be completed in one session, but can be done in small chunks throughout the week.

If you are not active, then the energy provided by your food that goes unused is stored as fat within the body, building up over time to increase a person’s weight.


Poor diet

Poor nutrition or an unhealthy diet are markers of obesity due to extra calories being stored in the body as fat.

Causes of this are:

  • Consuming food and drink that contain high amounts of fat and sugars.
  • Drinking too much alcohol, as this contains a lot of calories.
  • Eating larger portions of food than you need.
  • Comfort eating is a large contributing factor, as when people partake in this they often reach for sugary/fatty foods to make them feel better.


Underlying medical reasons

In some cases, there are underlying medical reasons that contribute to excessive weight gain, such as:

  • Under-active thyroid gland
  • Cushing’s syndrome


What are the health risks of being obese?

Being obese can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Some cancers

However, the effects of being obese are not just physical, but psychological too. Being obese can lead to a decline in quality of life, which in turn can lead to psychological issues with depression and low self-esteem making someone less motivated to improve their weight and might encourage them to gain more weight.


Can weight loss surgery help?

Weight loss surgery is a safe option to take, if you have been unsuccessful in losing weight and have an obese BMI. There are several different surgery options that have different levels of invasiveness, and there is even the option of a Gastric Balloon that does not involve surgery at all.

Having weight loss surgery can change the lives of people who are obese and struggle to lose weight, as it has many benefits to the individual:

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke, by reducing the calorie intake in turn reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Depression can be alleviated, as the individual will feel successful in their weight loss attempts making them more confident in their appearance
  • Reduce sleep apnea
  • Alleviate the symptoms or effects of some other medical conditions, for example, losing weight will improve the condition of bad knees by reducing the weight they have to carry

There are many benefits to opting for weight loss surgery and here at Streamline, we pride ourselves on being private specialists in our field who look at each patient’s case as being unique. We understand the difference weight loss surgery can make to someone’s life and the importance of aftercare in making sure someone achieves their healthy future.


Begin your journey with us.

For more information on how weight loss surgery at Streamline can help you, please call 0333 016 3030 or fill out our online enquiry form below.

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Call us to chat on: 0333 016 3030 (local rate) or fill in our contact form below.

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