Rashid Centre for
Diabetes & Research

What is obesity

Obesity is an illness and a serious threat against health

The term obesity is used to describe the health condition of anyone significantly above his or her ideal healthy weight. Obesity is a chronic disease and its symptoms and complications develop gradually. In its early stages obesity can make it difficult to walk and can produce back pain, tiredness and breathlessness. Being obese puts the person at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnoea, cancer and more.

Overweight and obesity have risen dramatically in the UAE over the past decade due to a steady increase in food-energy consumption and a lack of physical exercise. Today the country has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world - a major health problem playing an important role in increasing the occurrence of other chronically diseases.

World Health Organization (WHO) classifies overweight and obesity by using body mass index (BMI), defined as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters (kg/m2). These markers provide common benchmarks for assessment.

  • Underweight – a body mass index of under 18.5
  • Normal weight – a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9
  • Overweight – a body mass index between 25.0 and 29.9
  • Obesity – a body mass index of 30 or higher