Increased Health Risks for Overweight Adults

It is an unfortunate fact that nearly 78 million adults and 13 million children in the United States must deal with the effects of obesity. Being obese is not just a cosmetic problem; it can have serious medical consequences.

  • Diabetes Type 2

    Greater than 90% of those with type 2 diabetes are obese or overweight. Diabetes is the #1 cause for kidney failure, new blindness cases in adults, and lower limb amputations unrelated to trauma.

  • Heart Disease

    Atherosclerosis (build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries) is 10 times more likely in obese individuals. It can affect the arteries to the heart resulting in angina and heart attack.

  • High Blood Pressure

    Obesity accounts for 26% of hypertensive cases in men and 28% of hypertensive cases in women. The risk increases in proportion to the amount of weight gain. Hypertension can lead to numerous diseases that can compromise overall health.

  • Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

    It has been estimated that obese individuals have a 75% risk of developing simple fatty liver and a 23% risk of developing fatty liver with associated inflammation. If left untreated, this chronic condition can result in liver failure.

  • Osteoarthritis

    Overweight men are 5 times more likely to develop osteoarthritis and overweight women 4 times more than their normal weight counterparts. Being overweight significantly increases the stress on the joints of the knees, hips, back, resulting in breakdown of cartilage and degenerative joint disease.

  • Stroke

    Per a recent study, the incidence of stroke is 73% more likely in obese men compared to men of normal weight. The increased risk for obese women is 46%.

  • Cancer

    Per the Cancer Research Agency of the WHO, 500,000 cases of cancer every year are related to obesity.

  • Gallstone Disease

    Studies have shown for every measure of increase in BMI there is a 7% increase in the risk of developing gallstones.

  • Life expectancy

    Based on various international studies, BMI was shown to be related to mortality. Moderate obesity (BMI of 30-35) is associated with a reduction in life expectancy of about 3 years while those who are morbidly obese (BMI of 40-50) can expect a reduction of 8-10 years.

Even though the solution to this problem seems deceptively simple - eat less and move more - empathizing with those suffering from obesity, emphasizing the serious life-threating complications that can result from being overweight, encouraging healthy lifestyle changes and even seeking medical assistance seems to be the best way forward to halt the spread of obesity.