Description: Excessive accumulation of body fat; also known as adiposity. Physicians usually categorise as obese, or clinically obese, anyone who is 20% or more over normal body weight.

Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes.

Organ or part of body involved: Whole body.

Symptoms and indications: In addition to carrying excessive amounts of body fat, symptoms such as shortness of breath, aching legs, swollen ankles, increased sweating, low self-esteem, and depression are common.

Causes and risk factors: Chief cause of obesity is overeating i.e., the intake of calories beyond the body’s energy requirement. It is rarely the result of disturbances of the thyroid or pituitary glands. Obese persons are susceptible to several diseases like coronary thrombosis, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, gout, liver and gallbladder disorders.

Prevention: Avoidance of high-fat foods such as butter, cheese, chocolates, cream, ice cream, fat meats, fried foods and curries, high-carbohydrated foods like bread, candy, cake, cookies, cereal products, legumes, potatoes, sugar, sweet syrups and puddings, beverages such as all soft drinks and alcoholic drinks. Regular exercise such as walking, swimming, bicycling also prevents obesity.

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