obesity are more likely to have certain health
problems than adults who are not obese. These problems include the
Heart disease and cardiovascular problems
People who are obese have an increased risk of:
- Heart disease, including
coronary artery disease,
- High blood pressure.
- High levels of cholesterol and
triglycerides in the blood, as well as lower levels of
People who are obese are more likely to develop
insulin resistance, which can lead to
type 2 diabetes.
The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as BMI increases. People
who have a large percentage of body fat in the abdominal area—a waist measurement greater than
40 in. (102 cm) in men and
greater than 35 in. (89 cm) in
women—are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, even if their BMIs are within
the normal range.
People who are obese are at greater risk for different types
of cancer, including:1
- Breast cancer after menopause.
- Colorectal cancer.
- Esophageal cancer.
People who are obese may have more digestive problems.2
- Obesity increases the chance of having
- Obesity is linked with liver problems such as an
enlarged liver (hepatomegaly), a fatty liver (steatosis), or
- Symptoms of
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are more common
in people who are obese than in people of normal weight.
People who are obese may have difficulty breathing.
- They are more likely to have
- Obesity is
linked with a higher prevalence of
- People who are obese tend to take smaller or shallower breaths
(pickwickian syndrome). These small, gasping breaths may not get as much oxygen
into the blood as needed, leaving them always tired. Pickwickian syndrome can
eventually lead to heart problems.
People who are obese have a greater risk for
arthritis. Extra weight puts more stress on the joints
than normal, especially in the legs and lower back.
Sex hormone problems
Obesity is linked with:
- Problems with becoming pregnant (infertility).
- Irregular menstrual periods.
- Increased risk of birth defects,
neural tube defects.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.
- Obesity: Should I Have Weight-Loss Surgery?
- Obesity: Should I Take Weight-Loss Medicine?
Binge Eating Disorder
Obesity: Should I Have Weight-Loss Surgery?
Obesity: Should I Take Weight-Loss Medicine?
American Cancer Society (2010). Cancer Prevention and Early Detection: Facts and Figures 2010. Atlanta: American Cancer Society. Available online: http://ww2.cancer.org/downloads/STT/Cancer_Prev_and_Early_Dect_2010.pdf.
American Gastroenterological Association (2002, reapproved 2008). AGA
technical review on obesity. Gastroenterology, 123(3):
882–932. [Erratum in Gastroenterology, 123(5):