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What Is Obesity?

Being fat or thin is just a physical difference, and different body shapes can have different kinds of beauty. However, if obesity has the potential to harm health and even carry the risk of premature death, managing body fat is something that everyone needs to consider.

Is obesity a disease?

A disease is “A condition that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.” It affects the normal functioning of the body and has specific signs and symptoms. Obesity is a disease that involves excess body fat, which has clear signs and symptoms, as well as specific pathological and physiological support. Therefore, obesity has long been defined as a disease by many international organizations, including the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and the American Heart Association.

Although obesity does not directly cause death, patients may experience various complications, including:

Metabolic diseases

Patients may have too many pathogenic fat cells (Adiposopathy) in their body, and the endocrine and immune functions of these cells cannot function normally, leading to various metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.

Fat Mass Disease

Excess fat may lead to fat mass disease, which puts pressure and damage on the body, leading to problems such as arthritis, sleep apnea, acid reflux, etc.


Research has found that a patient’s weight is actually related to the incidence, treatment efficacy, and recurrence rate of some cancers. If patients lose weight, it can help reduce the incidence of some cancers, improve their response to treatment, and reduce their recurrence rate.

Other possible complications include heart disease, thrombosis, respiratory disease, and mental illnesses (such as depression), etc. In fact, the risk of various health problems in patients with obesity is higher than that of the general population, which indirectly increases their risk of premature death. Therefore, obesity has always been one of the leading preventable causes of death globally. It is worth noting that obesity not only affects the patient but also has the potential to spread through epigenetic inheritance to the next generation, increasing the chance of obesity or metabolic diseases in the next generation.

Although obesity can have serious health effects, the proportion of obese people in Hong Kong appears to be on the rise. According to the latest figures released by the Department of Health (as of the end of 2021), in 2014-2015, obese people accounted for 29.9% of the total population in Hong Kong, with severe obesity reaching as high as 5.3%. Compared to the previous figures released in 2003-2004, the proportion of obese people was only 21.1% – this seems to be a warning sign that reminds us to take obesity seriously. In fact, like other diseases, obesity should be prevented and treated early. You can control body fat by changing your lifestyle habits, controlling your diet, and medication therapy to reduce the risk of complications.