What is adiposity?

The latin term adiposity means severe or morbid overweight. In English usually the term obesity is being used. An increasing overweight is associated with a growing risk for diseases, which are associated with obesity. A rough measure for obesity is the body-mass-index (BMI).

Fast ein Viertel der Deutschen sind krankaht übergewichtig, also adipös.
Nearly one quater of Germany's population is strongly overweight - obese or adipose.

Adiposity is not seen as a disease in parts of the population and among some physicians; it is rather seen as a sign of an unhealthy lifestyle. Yet, obesity is a disease with many causes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) adiposity means a body-mass-index (BMI) over 30 kg/m². The BMI is however only an approximate value.

The BMI is calculated by dividing one’s body weight in kilogram by the body height in square meter:

BODY WEIGHT in kg : BODY HEIGHT in m²   =  BMI            e.g.    75 kg : (1.65m x 1.65m)  =  27.5 kg/m²

BMI and Stages of Adiposity
Normal weight           18-24.9
Overweight                  25-29.9
Adiposity stage I        30-34.9
Adiposity stage II       35-39.9
Adiposity stage III      40 and more (Adiposity permagna or morbid obesity)

Decisive is the fat distribution of the body

Adiposity is associated with several secondary diseases (sequelae) like diabetes (type 2), high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, fatty liver and disorders of the adipose tissue. Essential for the risk to develop these secondary diseases is the fat distribution of the body. Especially the visceral fat in the belly region (apple type) is associated with a higher risk, whereas fat depots in the buttocks and upper leg area are less harmful (pear type). Therefore, physicians often measure the abdominal or waist circumference. An increased waist circumference of over 8 cm in women and over 94 cm in men is a risk factor for the obesity associated diseases such as type-2-diabetes. Beyond 88 cm in female or 102 cm in male patients there is a significantly higher risk.

Experts additionally measure the ratio of waist- to hip-circumference (waist-to-hip-ratio). This should not exceed 0,85 in women and 1,0 in men. Especially the waist-to-hight-ratio may indicate a higher risk for sequelae. The ratio (division, each value measured in cm) for persons under 40 years of age should not be higher than 0.5, for 40- to 50-year-olds the limit is between  0.6 to 0.6, and for people older than 50 years 0.6.  An increased value alone does not mean that the person is ill. Further examinations e. g. of the blood and the blood pressure should follow to clarify whether there are already obesity related diseases.

It does not have to be problematic to be overweight or to have a increased BMI. Especially people with lots of muscles or a pear-like fat distribution are often in less danger. The probability of sequelae is increasing with an increase of the BMI and the waist circumference. Adiposity is being diagnosed when the BMI as well as the WHR rises above the critical values. If, at the same time, the aforementioned sequelae can be noticed partially or comprehensively, medical treatment is highly recommended.