Adiposity: Meaning, Diseases Associated, and How to Measure


Adiposity is a term referring to excessive adipose tissue (excessive fat) in the body. It is sometimes used synonymously to obesity, however, being overweight or obese does not always mean that the extra weight is due to fats.

Another term used is visceral adiposity. Visceral adiposity is the deposition of excessive fats around the viscera or organs such as the intestines, heart, and liver.

When adiposity results in metabolic derangements, it is now called “Metabesity”. Similarly, when adiposity, rather than obesity, results in diabetes, it is referred to as “Diabesity”.

What is Diabesity? (Or Dibesity)


The not-so-healthy lifestyles of people are the problem that lays the foundation for a number of undesirable disorders.

The smallest of habits can turn into hazardous situations if they are practiced consistently. Being aware of the possible medical conditions that are pretty common in today’s world can be beneficial when one is trying to avoid them.

By learning about what such conditions can result in and how they are caused it becomes easier to prevent these and also manage them if the damage has already been done.

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Here we have a detailed conversation regarding a commonly encountered medical term.

What Does Adiposity Mean?

By definition, adiposity means the condition of being severely overweight with having fatty tissues in excess throughout the body.

More commonly, the term obesity is used worldwide. This condition is frequently associated with several lethal diseases which typically include cardiovascular diseases.

Some people or physicians do not associate adiposity with illnesses or disorders instead it is considered a part of an unhealthy lifestyle.

In truth, adiposity is a starter pack for several diseases.

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An approximate value related to adiposity is the Body Mass Index of 30 kg/m2, defined as adiposity by the World Health Organisation (WHO).


Adipocytes, also known as lipocytes or fat cells, are the cells that make up adipose tissue and are responsible for storing energy as fat. Adipocytes are produced from mesenchymal stem cells that undergo adipogenesis to become adipocytes.

It can also be found throughout the body. It’s found deep within the skin (subcutaneous fat), surrounding internal organs (visceral fat), between muscles, in bone marrow, and in breast tissue.

Tools to Measure Adiposity: How to assess Adiposity?

There are a number of ways that one can use to measure adiposity and frankly measuring adiposity is the first step in taking action.

The level of adiposity can decide how much at risk of certain diseases is a person. Several techniques can be used to measure adiposity and they are listed below.

Body Mass Index (BMI):

Body mass index (BMI) is one of the most frequently used tools in clinical practices. This value is derived by taking the weight of an individual in kilograms and height in meter2.

The value of weight is the numerator and that of height is the denominator. The unit used for BMI is kg/m2.

It can be calculated online as well by using this link.

BMI (Body Mass Index) Formula, Chart, Range, & Alternative Tools

The set ranges for BMI are given below. [Ref]

  • Underweight: 18.5 kg/m2
  • Normal weight: 18.5 kg/m2 to 24.9 kg/m2
  • Overweight: 25 kg/m2 to 29.9 kg/m2
  • Obese: 30 kg/m2 and above

Based on the above-given ranges a person can measure his/her level of adiposity.

Although this tool is frequently used, there are some limitations that make its use controversial and discouraged.

It can overestimate the adiposity of someone with a large frame by 10% meaning that it may characterize a tall individual with normal body fat percentage as overweight.

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Likewise, it may underestimate the adiposity of someone with a short frame by 10% by characterizing them as normal even though they may be carrying some extra pounds. [Ref]

Waist to Hip Ratio:

The location of fat deposition is quite important. Visceral fat or abdominal obesity means the amount of fat around your waist area which can be setting the foundation for a number of diseases which include diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

Waist to hip ratio is relatively a better option to measure adiposity than BMI as it gives a clear indication of how much weight is stored around your waist.

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It is measured by taking values of your waist circumference and dividing them by the value of your hip circumference.

It can be measured online by using this link.

Waist to hip ratio can be an indicator of stress, growth and development, sex chracteristics, and fertility. [Ref]

Skinfold Measurement:

For almost 50 years, body fat has been estimated using skinfold measurements.

At specific bodily areas, skinfold calipers measure the thickness of your subcutaneous fat (fat beneath the skin).

Three or seven different locations on the body are measured. The specific sites used by males and women are different.

For women, the 3-site measurement includes the triceps, the area above the hip bone, and either the thigh or the abdomen.

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The chest, area under the armpit, and area beneath the shoulder blade are all measured in a 7-site measurement in women.

The chest, abdomen, and thigh, or the chest, triceps, and area beneath the scapula, are the three places for men.

In men, a 7-site measurement includes the areas around the armpit and those under the shoulder blade.

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Diseases Associated With Increased Adiposity:

Adiposity is an indication of health conditions. Some of them are given below.


Increased adiposity has been associated with cancers of the colon, breast (postmenopause), endometrial (uterine lining), kidney, and esophagus.

Higher adiposity and malignancies of the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas have also been linked in some research.

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Type 2 Diabetes:

Most people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. You can cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight, eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and exercising more.

If you have type 2 diabetes, losing weight and becoming more physically active can help control your blood sugar levels. Becoming more active may also reduce your need for diabetes medication.

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Gallbladder Diseases:

Higher levels of adiposity lay the foundation for gallbladder diseases.

Ironically, weight reduction itself, especially speedy weight reduction or lack of a huge quantity of weight, could make you much more likely to get gallstones.

Losing weight at a charge of approximately 1 pound per week is much less in all likelihood to cause gallstones.

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Gout is an ailment that influences the joints. It takes place if you have an excessive amount of uric acid in your blood. The more uric acid there is more crystals deposit withinside the joints.

Gout is greater in obese people. The greater you weigh, the much more likely you’re to get gout.

Over the quick term, unexpected weight modifications can also additionally result in a flare-up of gout. If you’ve got a record of gout, take a look together with your medical doctor for an exceptional manner to lose weight.

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What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

Here is a link to My Facebook Page. You can also contact me by email at or at My Twitter Account
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