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Who Discovered Obesity?

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The ancient Greeks were the first to describe obesity as a disease. Since then, many physicians and scientists from different centuries have contributed to the discovery of the symptoms, diagnosis, causes, treatments and even the genetic factor that contribute to this disease.

Hippocrates, the Father of Western Medicine

One good example from the ancient Greek was Hippocrates, who mentioned obesity in his work. Hippocrates, a famous Greek physician, was born in 460 BC and he was the first person to observe and gave description for a number of diseases, including obesity. He established the Hippocratic School of Medicine. For his contribution to the modern medical science, he is widely known as the “Father of Western medicine”. He died in 370 BC.

Statue of Sushruta in Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar, IndiaSushruta classified surgeries into 8 categories, described over 300 surgical procedures and over 120 surgical tools and instruments.

Sushruta, the Father of Surgery

Sushruta, an ancient Indian surgeon from 600 BC to 1,000 BC was the first person to describe the connection between obesity, heart disease and diabetes, thus discovered the first major symptom, causes and effect of obesity. He is the author of a famous ancient medical work called Sushruta Samhita. In his book, he classified human surgery into 8 categories. He then went on to describe 300 different surgical procedures and 120 different surgical instruments. He is widely known as the “Father of Surgery” due to his contribution to modern surgery.

At one time, being obese was a sign of prosperity

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period, obesity was considered as a sign of prosperity and wealth. It was also considered as a positive characteristic of workers during the industrial revolution period. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century did the scientific society began to discover the various health risks associated with obesity. Most of the genetic factors that were linked to obesity was only discovered in the early 21st century and some of these research are still on going.

More on obesity: Facts about obesity.