Can People Who Look Slim Be Obese? A Doctor Debunks 5 Obesity Myths

FIT spoke with Dr Abhishek Agarwal who helped us debunk common myths related to obesity.

2 min read

Video Producer/Editor: Garima Sadhwani

One in eight people, globally, live with obesity, according to the World Health Organization.

However, a significant number of people who are clinically obese often don't get the help or medical support they require due to myths and unsubstantiated claims surrounding the condition.

FIT spoke with Dr Abhishek Agarwal, Consultant, GI surgery, Amrita Hospital, Faridabad, who helped us debunk common myths related to obesity.


1. If you're obese, it means you're lazy and lack self control.

"Absolutely not. Obesity is caused by many factors, diet being one. Other factors may be environmental, behavioural, or an underlying genetic disease."
Dr Abhishek Agarwal

2. Drugs or medicines should not be used to treat obesity.

That's not true for everyone. Dr Agarwal tells FIT, "While lifestyle changes should be the first way to go about if you're obese, there is a role of drugs or bariatric surgery when these changes fail to bring about any positive outcomes. But these should be done under the supervision of a specialist or a qualified practitioner."

3. Obesity can be genetically passed on.

Yes. According to Dr Agarwal,

"If the parents are obese, then there is a high risk of getting obesity. But it does not guarantee it."

4. Obese people need to simply lose weight by eating less.

"No, that is not true. Losing weight involves a complex multiplay of many factors including lifestyle changes, physical activity. There could be hormonal imbalances that need to be tackled or some diseases that need to be managed."
Dr Abhishek Agarwal

5. Someone can look 'healthy/slim' and still be clinically obese.

Yes, absolutely. "BMI is just a starting point. The body metabolism is very much influenced by many factors including body composition of fat. Such patients may also need weight management," Dr Agarwal tells FIT.

(All of April, Quint FIT is decoding the alarming rise in obesity in India and the various health risks associated with it. Follow our full coverage here.)

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Topics:  Obesity   Obesity Risk 

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