Man measuring his stomach

What is android obesity?

By Katy Brodski-Quigley, MD, EdM Feb 13, 2022 • 4 min

About 42% of American adults are obese, but many people don't realize that there are different kinds of obesity.

Android is a specific type of obesity that poses a number of health risks.

Abdominal (android) obesity

Android obesity occurs when excess body weight collects on the torso. More common among men, android obesity is also called abdominal obesity, apple-shaped obesity or male-pattern obesity.

Lifestyle habits, such as poor diet and physical inactivity, play a significant role in cases of android obesity, but genetics have also been found to be a factor. Those with a family history of android obesity may have a greater risk of developing the condition. Android obesity can lead to serious health problems, like type 2 diabeteshigh blood pressure and heart disease.

It’s important to work with a healthcare provider to lose weight if you have android obesity. The good news is that people with the condition tend to find it easier to lose weight than people with other types of obesity, and even a modest weight loss can result in a number of health benefits.

What is gynoid obesity?

Gynoid obesity occurs when excess body weight collects on the hips and thighs. Women are more likely than men to have gynoid obesity, which is also known as female-pattern obesity or pear-shaped obesity. While gynoid obesity does not appear to be associated with as high of a risk of developing certain health problems as android obesity, any kind of obesity requires medical attention.

Android vs. gynoid obesity

Android obesity can be more harmful than gynoid obesity because it’s linked to a greater risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apneadiabetes, certain cancers and stroke. On the positive side, extra weight associated with android obesity tends to be easier to lose than that of gynoid obesity.

Because the difference between android and gynoid obesity lies in where the extra weight is located, it’s easy to determine which kind of obesity you have. First, you need to determine your body mass index. For this, you can use a Body mass index (BMI) calculator, such as the one provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you fall into the obese category, you can then measure your waist circumference to determine where you carry the extra weight. Place a tape measure just above the hip bones and note the number. A circumference of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men can be a sign of android obesity.

If your waist circumference measures below these numbers, but your BMI is over 30, then you may have gynoid obesity. It is important to note that neither BMI nor waist circumference apply in pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you should discuss any weight concerns with your obstetrician (OBGYN).

Scientists and healthcare providers now know that android obesity is not just caused by poor health habits. It’s a complicated issue in which many factors play a role. These can be genetic, lifestyle, dietary, environmental or hormonal, among others. It’s important to discuss all of these factors with your healthcare provider to determine what steps to take in order to achieve a healthy weight.

Published February 2022.

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3 min
By Katy Brodski-Quigley, MD, EdM
Feb 13