Adiposity is a disease with many different causes and influences. Genetic, biological, neurobiological, psychological and social factors as well as the living environment can contribute to the development of obesity.
Scientists assume that an increasingly obesogenic environment is responsible for the increase of obese people in industrialized countries.Super- and malnutrition as well as the lack of exercise are typical for these societies. The prejudice, that obese persons are fully responsible for their excess weight, is wrong since a variety of factors contribute to overweight.
Adiposity is a disease
Adiposity or morbid overweight is an illness with a lot of different causes. We generally speak of adiposity if the concerned person has a so-called “body-mass-index” (BMI) of more than 30 kg/m². Scientific findings have shown that abdominal fat and the fat in the organs are especially problematic. Because the BMI does not take the differences in fat distribution into account, overweight is also evaluated via the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). If this ratio is more than 0.85 with women and more than 1.0 with men, you can speak of adiposity.
Not everybody will become fat, not everybody will stay slender
At first sight, the cause for morbid overweight is pretty simple. The body gets too much energy in the form of nutrition and does not use all of it in the form of exercise. This creates an excess that will be stored as fat in the fat cells (adipocytes). Although scientists generally agree in this point, it remains unclear why some people manage to eat only as much as they really need and others do not. There are different approaches to explain this problem. For the treatment of adiposity this means that the patients need to be examined and treated individually.
From the genetic defect to sleep hygiene – the many faces of adiposity
There are people suffering from a genetic defect that prevents them from feeling satiated. Others have learned since early childhood to fight stress with food. For their nucleus accumbens this is the only way to calm down. Some people have sleeping disorders that interfere with their metabolism. They are constantly hungry even though their body does not have any deficit. With some morbidly overweight people stress leads to an increase of the insulin level in their body. Even if they exercise their body will therefore not burn enough fat. Some adipose patients suffer from binge-eating that they cannot control anymore. They lose control while eating and can very rarely regain it without professional help. There are also assumptions that some people simply have their ideal weight above a BMI of 30 kg/m². While they might be overweight they do not suffer any further health impairments. For those people overweight can be a mainly social problem.