About Obesity

Let's discuss the real facts surrounding Obesity

Let's talk about the real facts surrounding Obesity...

Smashing the Myth ...
'Obesity Is About Eating Too Much and Exercising Too Little!'

Contrary to popular belief, obesity is not simply caused by overeating and a lack of exercise. While there is some truth in this, it is not the full picture. We now understand that this is an unfair and oversimplified claim.  There is, in fact, so much more to it!

Genetics and family history can play a role in the development of obesity.

Hormones, such as leptin and insulin, can also affect weight gain and loss.

Environmental factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle and easy access to unhealthy foods, can contribute to obesity.

Mental health and stress can also impact weight gain and loss.

By understanding the various factors that contribute to obesity, we can take a more holistic approach to addressing this health condition.

So what IS Obesity?

Let's learn the definition of obesity, its impact on health, and the various factors that contribute to weight gain...

Obesity is is a growing health concern worldwide, defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an ‘abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health’. It is considered a serious, chronic, relapsing disease, rather than a simple condition.

Obesity occurs when energy intake from food and drink is greater than what is spent through physical activity. However, weight gain is not necessarily the result of only a poor diet and not enough exercise. As mentioned, a person’s biological and genetic characteristics, as well as lifestyle factors can have a strong impact on energy imbalance and contribute to weight gain. 

Obesity is not your fault, nor is it caused by a lack of willpower. It is a complex disease that can increase your chances of getting other diseases, and contributes to low self-esteem, emotional distress, anxiety, depression and isolation. This disease can seriously affect not only your physical health and mental well-being – it can also shorten your life-expectancy.  

Watch ...
'Obesity is a Disease'

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What are the effects of obesity on the body?

Obesity can affect the body in many ways...

  • Tasks are harder and body movement is more difficult
  • Walking and climbing stairs may be challenging
  • Getting puffed, winded and short of breath occurs more often
  • It’s easier to become more tired, quickly
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Hurting joints 
  • Snoring, or snoring more frequently which affects quality of sleep 
  • Find it difficult to maintain personal hygiene
  • Public seating, movie theatre, car and airplane seats may be too small

Watch ...
'Acting on Obesity'

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What are the causes of obesity?

Obesity can be caused by many factors, for example:

  • The genes that you inherit from your biological parents
  • Your eating and exercise patterns and habits
  • How well your body converts food into energy
  • Medication such as steroids or antidepressants
  • Your surroundings and external influences
  • Psychological factors
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Why is Obesity such a risk to our health?

Living with obesity can have a profoundly negative impact on the body. Everybody is different, and obesity affects people in different ways.  Not everyone with obesity will develop serious health conditions.  However, it is generally acknowledged that as a person’s weight increases, so does the potential for developing health issues also increases.  Some of these health issues include:

  • Diabetes (Type 2)
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Breathing difficulties (sleep apnoea, asthma)
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • High cholesterol
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Digestive issues (reflux)
  • Joint problems (arthritis)
  • Cancer
  • Difficulties falling pregnant (infertility)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Depression

What are some of the social and psychological effects of living with obesity?

  • Stigma and social discrimination
  • Feelings of shame, blame and a negative self-image
  • Unhealthy attitudes to food and eating
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Social isolation

How do we Measure Obesity?

Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

The BMI is an internationally recognised standard for classifying overweight and obesity in adults. It is a measure that calculates the relationship between weight and height of an individual.  It is a useful measure of obesity and indicates risk for developing weight-related problems. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres. 

BMI Calculator

BMI Definitions (kg/m2)

  • Underweight  Under 18
  • Healthy Weight 18-25
  • Overweight 25-30
  • Obese 30-35
  • Severely Obese 35-40
  • Morbidly Obese 40 and Over

The Toowoomba Bariatric Surgery Team
aims to support and empower you.

If you are concerned about the health implications of your weight, please visit
your GP to request a referral to see us to discuss your options.
Working together, we can help you to achieve a full and healthy life.


The information herein is not intended as medical advice. It should be considered as a reference only, or a starting point for further discussions with Dr Willingham and his team about weight loss surgery. Please be aware that results may vary from person to person