Excess body weight is a condition when the body weight exceeds the normal body weight. Excess weight can be experienced by all age groups, both children and adults. 

Being overweight or overweight is different from obesity . Obesity is caused by excess levels of body fat, while excess weight can occur due to the accumulation of fat, fluid, or large muscle mass. However, in the medical world, the term excess weight usually occurs due to the accumulation of fat mass.

Excess weight can be determined by calculating the body mass index (BMI), which is a measure to determine body mass from the ratio of body weight (kg) and height (m2 ) .

Based on the WHO criteria for Asian adults, a person can be said to be overweight if they have a BMI of around 23–24.9 kg/m 2 . If the BMI is above this value, which is 25 kg/m2 or more, the condition is categorized as obesity.

Causes of Excess Weight

Excess weight occurs when the calories that enter the body are not balanced with the calories used. This condition is generally triggered by the following factors:

  • A gene in the family that causes the body to store calories more easily
  • Inability to buy healthy foods and eat a lot of low-nutrient and high-calorie foods, and high in fat and sugar
  • Decrease in the frequency of physical activity due to changes in lifestyle, work patterns, and transportation
  • Genetic disorders, such as Cohen syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, and Alström syndrome
  • Endocrine disorders, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome , and tumors
  • Use of certain medications, such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and diabetes medications

Overweight Symptoms

Overweight is characterized by a body mass index that exceeds normal limits but has not yet reached the obesity category. Exceeding normal body weight can also cause fat accumulation in the waist. This condition doesn't cause any other symptoms, but it can cause a number of complications.

When to see a doctor

Check with your doctor if you are overweight with the following conditions:

  • Not knowing the right way to lose weight
  • Not successful in losing weight the way it has been done before
  • Worried that losing weight or increasing physical activity will impact the health condition that is being experienced

Your doctor can help determine the right diet and exercise for your condition. That way, the occurrence of complications can be avoided.

Overweight Diagnosis

To diagnose excess weight, the doctor will ask questions related to the patient's lifestyle, including diet and daily activities. Your doctor will also ask about other risk factors, such as a family history of being overweight.

The examination is continued by measuring the patient's body mass index (BMI), which begins with checking the patient's height and weight. BMI can be calculated using the ideal weight calculator.

The ideal weight calculator can help determine whether your weight category is normal, underweight, or overweight. Please note that calculators for children up to 19 years of age are different from calculators for adults.

The doctor will also measure the patient's waist circumference to detect fat accumulation in the abdomen. Next, the doctor will perform follow-up tests to determine the cause of excess weight, such as:

  • Blood tests, to measure blood sugar levels, cholesterol, triglycerides, and the function of other organs
  • Pelvic ultrasound, to detect cysts in the uterus, if the patient is suspected of having polycystic ovarian syndrome ( PCOS )

Overweight Treatment

Overweight management aims to restore ideal body weight and maintain it. The treatment method will be adjusted to the cause and severity of the condition, including:

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes to be healthier can help balance calories in the body to achieve and maintain normal body weight.

To lose weight, the calories used by the body must be greater than the calories in. Meanwhile, to maintain weight, calories in and out must be balanced.

Lifestyle changes to deal with excess weight can include:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet
    To lose weight, a gradual reduction in calorie intake is required. A healthy diet can help ensure the number of calories consumed.
  • Regular
    activity Doing physical activity or exercising regularly can help burn calories so that you will lose weight. Even so, first discuss with your doctor about physical activity that suits your condition.
  • Get enough sleep
    Research shows that an increased risk of obesity can be triggered by a lack of sleep. Therefore, people who are overweight will be advised to get enough sleep .


Counseling aims to help patients plan what needs to be done to lose and maintain weight, such as eating a low-calorie diet, exercising, and changing daily habits. This program can be done individually or in groups.

Use of drugs

If lifestyle changes cannot overcome excess body weight, doctors can provide drugs to help you lose weight, such as:

  • Medications that affect how the brain works to regulate appetite, eg diethylpropion, phentermine, lorcaserin, naltrexone, and liraglutide
  • Orlistat , which is a drug that functions to reduce the absorption of fat from the food consumed

Although proven to be able to lose weight, these drugs will work more effectively when accompanied by lifestyle changes. In addition, the use of drugs must also be in accordance with the doctor's advice, to reduce the risk of side effects.

Complications of Overweight

Being overweight can affect your health, both physically and mentally. Being overweight can cause fatigue and discomfort due to the pressure the body has to carry. In addition, being overweight can also cause other health problems, such as:

  • Back pain
  • Muscle and joint pain ( arthritis )
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea and asthma
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Kidney stones
  • Fatty liver
  • Pelvic displacement
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Depression
  • Cancer

Overweight Prevention

Being overweight is a preventable condition. Prevention can be done by living a healthy lifestyle, such as:

  • Maintain a healthy, nutritionally complete and balanced diet
  • Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes every day
  • Limit consumption of foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, and fat
  • Get enough rest and sleep
  • Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Manage stress well
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