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An obese patient is 20% or more heavier than their ideal weight.

Excess body weight is an important public health problem because it is associated with:

  • type II diabetes mellitus
  • hypertension and stroke
  • hyperlipidaemia
  • some cancers

Obesity is graded according to the Body Mass Index (BMI):

  • Healthy weight 18.5-24.9

  • Overweight 25-29.9

  • Obesity I 30-34.9

  • Obesity II 35-39.9

  • Obesity III 40 or more

The health benefits of modest (10%) weight loss was previously summarised by SIGN- although the precise benefits will vary in individuals depending on initial body weight, current health and degree of weight loss)

  • mortality
    • 20-25% reduction in premature death
    • 30% reduction in the risk of dying from diabetes-related complications
    • 40% reduction in the risk of dying from cancer
  • Blood pressure
    • 10mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure
    • 20mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure
  • Diabetes 50% fall in fasting blood glucose levels
  • Lipids
    • 10% fall in total cholesterol 15% fall in LDL cholesterol
    • 8% increase in HDL cholesterol

By 2030 an estimated 38% of the world’s adult population will be overweight and another 20% will be obese (4)


Last edited 06/2021 and last reviewed 02/2022