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Obesity Concept Map

Obesity Concept Map


The aim of this concept map is to clarify the approach for evaluating and managing overweight/obesity patients. The map starts with the definition of Obesity “obesity is excess body fat.  It is defined as a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2.” and the epidemiology.  On the left side of the map, you’ll find obesity etiology and risk factors stated and represented using a funny image that will help you memorize this part easily.

Etiology and Risk Factors

Factors that contribute to obesity include:

  • Genetic factors; cause primary obesity
  • Environmental factors
  • Secondary causes; medications and medical conditions that may cause secondary obesity
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Physiological factors
  • Other risk factors
Obesity Etiology and Risk Factors


According to the etiology:

  • Primary obesity
  • Secondary obesity

According to body mass index (BMI)

Classification of obesity according to BMI
Classification of obesity according to BMI

According to waist-to-hip ratio (fat distribution):

  • Apple obesity
  • Pear obesity

Diagnosis and Clinical Presentation

Diagnosis of obesity is based on

History; it is important to assess the patient’s dietary habits, physical activity levels, whether obesity is due to one of the secondary causes or not, and if the patient has any obesity comorbid conditions that should be managed besides obesity.

Physical Examination includes:

  • Body mass index (BMI) = weight / height2 (kg/m2); it is used to assess the severity of obesity; see previous table.
  • Body composition analysis; assesses percentage of body fat and muscle.
  • Waist circumference; estimates visceral fat.
  • Waist-to-hip ratio; measures fat distribution; accordingly obesity is classified into: Pear obesity (gynoid obesity) and Apple obesity (Android obesity)

Laboratory Test that assesses secondary causes and/or comorbid condition, examples:

  • Fasting lipid profile.
  • Fasting plasma glucose, hemoglobin A1c, and electrolyte measurements.
  • Serum thyroid stimulation hormone and free T4 measurement.

Complications and Comorbidities

They are stated in the map using a simple figure showing sites of organs exposed to obesity complications.  Overall they can be: psychosocial, neurological, cardiovascular, endocrinal, musculoskeletal, renal, gastrointestinal, and/ or pulmonary.
Using the previously mentioned aspects of obesity – risk factors, secondary causes and information got from diagnosis and clinical presentation –  individualized treatment goals and plan are to be set.

Treatment of Obesity

The map includes treatment goals and approaches.
First-line therapy for obesity is Non-Pharmacological Treatment including: Low-calorie diet (LCD), Exercise, and Behavioral Modification – benefits of each and more details are stated in the map.

Pharmacotherapy – presented in the form of comparison; comparing:

  • Centrally acting anorexiant medications (impair dietary intake)

First, Agents Approved for Long-Term Use (Lorcaserin – Phentermine/Topiramate ER)

Second, Agents Approved for Short-Term Use (Phentermine – Diethylpropion)

  • Peripherally acting medications (impair dietary absorption): Orlistat

Bariatric Surgery – the map explains its indications, benefits, most common procedures (Adjustable gastric banding – Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB)), and post-operative maintenance and supplementation.

This map will help you link obesity etiology and/or risk factors and diagnosis for the aim of individualizing therapy.

Order the map

You can order the Alzheimer’s disease concept map in any of the following forms according to your preference. Our maps are comprehensive in a way that can benefit both students and clinicians.

This map is available in two forms;
1. Printable version.
2. Whole map version.

Check them out below to know the difference, so that you can choose what is suitable for you. And please feel free to leave your feedback, comments, or questions in the comments section below.

Obesity concept map is written by: Hagar M. Abdel AA’l, B Pharm.
Reviewed and edited by Maha Atef, B Pharm.
Last updated on: 7 February 2013

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