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25 Jan 2012
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Obesity is a condition in which an individual is carrying a high level of excess body fat.

Obesity plays a major factor in the development of other chronic health problems, such as high blood pressurecardiovascular diseasediabetes, and so on.

To measure body fat, doctors and health specialists calculate the body mass index, which takes into account weight and height.


  • One in four New Zealanders suffers from obesity (27.8%)
  • A person is considered obese if their body mass index (BMI) is 30 or above
  • Obesity increases the risk of developing other health conditions



Causes of obesity can include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Eating processed food or food that is high in fat
  • Eating more than your body can burn off
  • Comfort eating
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Genetic factors
  • Medical reasons (e.g. Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism or polycystic ovary syndrome)


  • BMI of 30 and above
  • Breathlessness
  • Increased sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Back and joint pain


Long-term problems



Treatment for obesity can include:

  • Diet modification
  • Regular exercise
  • Medication


If you have the above symptoms consult your general practitioner.




Video: How Obesity Affects the Body



Video: The Obesity Epidemic in New Zealand




Ministry of Health
Ministry of Health Food and Nutrition Guidelines
Weight Management FAB Approach
Fight the Obesity Epidemic



NHS – Obesity
Best Health BMJ – Obesity
World Health Organization – Obesity



Journal of the American Medical Association
The New England Journal of Medicine
British Medical Journal
The Lancet



Obesity Discussion



The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic, with links to local and international resources that may be of interest.  We do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date.

You should always, however, seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner first.



Updated April 2012
Image source: Wikimedia Commons – Obesity Waist Circumference