Obesity: Classification & Types

Obesity is a state in which there is accumulation of excess adipose tissue in the body leading to more than 20% of the desired weight. Obesity is the condition where the body weight is 10-20% greater than the standard weight for age, height, sex.

Obesity is a chronic disease which also causes many health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, and premature deaths. Excess body weight may also lead to breathlessness, atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis of weight bearing joints and varicose veins. Generally, obesity is caused when a persons intake of calories is more than the expenditure of calories.

Classification Of Obesity


1. Body Weight:

An adult weighing 10% more than standard weight is called overweight and more than 20% is called obesity.

% of excess body weight than normalDegree of obesity
100very severe

2. Body Mass Index (BMI):

BMI is also known as Quetlet Index. This do not require any standard tables.


3. Waist Circumference:

It is most practical tool a clinical can use to evaluate a patients abdominal fat before and during weight loss treatment.

High risk waist circumference

  • Men: >40 inches (>120 cm)
  • Women: >35 inches (>88cm)

4. Measurement Of Body Fat:

Various skinfold calipers have been devised to measure body fat.

In practice: Harpender calipers, large calipers, USA MRNL calipers are used to measure subcutaneous fat at the triceps, abdomen and subscapular and subcostal sites.

Harpender calipers measures fat at triceps at a point equidistance from the tip of acromion and olecranon. Measurement of triceps should be less than 85-90% of age.

5. Ponderal Index:

The ponderal index is the ratio of the height to be the cube root of weight. This index is given by the formula

Adult Ponderal Index = Weight in kg / Height3 (m)

Infant/Child Ponderal Index = 100 x Weight (grams) / Height3 (cm)

6. Waist to hip ratio:

The predominant distribution of fat in an obese person, whether in the upper part or the lower part of the body, may determine the disease pattern but with upper body density the ratio is 0.85 in women and greater then 1.0 in males. Abdominal obesity does not always go with obesity or overweight.

Types Of Obesity

Grading of obesity can be done based on BMI

Grade 1:

These people have BMI more than 25 and less than 29. Over weight does not affect their health. People with this grade can lead normal healthy life.

Grade 2:

The BMI in this grade is ranging from 30-39/40. These people should be treated by doctors and dieticians to reduce weight. Although they appear to be good in health but they have reduced tolerance to exercise with shortness of breath on exertion and fatigue.

This happens due to increased weight and they may also reduce circulatory and respiratory systems that are messed up with internal fat. Based on metabolic and other reasons these patients are at increased risk of diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, osteoarthritis, hernias, varicose veins, fatty liver, gall bladder diseases. and increased mortality rate.

Grade 3:

At this grade, BMI is above 40 and these patients are in very dangerous condition. They are more susceptible for many diseases like that are mention in grade 2.


Obesity can lead to many health problems. Having high body fat puts stress on your bones as well as your internal organs. This may lead to many other health related issues, some may are life threatened it not treated.

Putting pressure on bones also increases inflammation, which may lead to arthritis. Obesity is also a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, pcod etc as follows:

  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Types-2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Infertility
  • Fatty liver disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Infertility
  • Cancer

Eating Habits That May Lead To Obesity

  • Picking food between meals is common among housewives and is a main cause for obesity.
  • Housewives who do not want leftover food to be thrown out may consume forcibly and gain weight.
  • People who eat outside home more frequently are prone to obesity.
  • Some people may eat faster taking less time for chewing, so that they tens to consume more food.
  • Business executives who often attend business lunches have more chances of becoming obese.
  • People who eat more junk foods like high fat, high carbs may become obese.
  • People who eat processed, concentrated and high fat food are susceptible to obesity.
  • Non-inclusion of fruits and vegetables and non-vegetarians diet also put on weight.


Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health. The World Health Organization defines obesity as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health”. Obesity is most commonly measured by Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. A BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher indicates obesity. Obesity increases the risk of various diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Obesity rates are increasing worldwide and it is estimated that at least 2-3% of adults around the world will be obese by 2030.