Health Problems Due to Obesity

icon-blog By -Dr. Kanika Sharma
icon-blog By -December 14, 2023


Health Problems Due to Obesity


Obesity refers to the excessive accumulation of fat in the body, negatively impacting health and increasing the risk of conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol levels. This widespread health concern has escalated over the last 50 years, affecting nearly one-third of adults and approximately 17% of adolescents in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five adolescents, one in six elementary school-age children, and one in 12 preschool-age children are obese based on 2011-2012 data

Globally, obesity rates are soaring, affecting over 500 million adults. It is a complex and multifactorial disease, ranking as the second most common preventable cause of death after smoking. The condition results from an imbalance between daily energy intake and expenditure, leading to excessive weight gain and overweight diseases. Contributing factors include genetic, cultural, and societal elements, with genetic studies revealing a high heritability of obesity. Other causes encompass reduced physical activity, sleep disturbances, hormonal disorders, medications, excessive consumption of carbohydrates and high-sugar foods, and decreased energy metabolism.  Achieving a 5% to 10% weight loss can significantly enhance both individual health and the overall economic well-being of a country. Obesity necessitates comprehensive treatment strategies and may require lifelong management.

The economic impact of obesity is substantial, exceeding $700 billion annually, with an estimated $100 billion in the United States alone. Given its multifaceted nature, obesity demands comprehensive management and preventive measures to address this escalating public health issue. Today, through this article, let's have a thorough insight to the detrimental effects of obesity on health and how to manage it.

Diseases Happening Due to Obesity

Following are some disadvantages of obesity:

1. Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops when your blood sugar levels exceed the normal range, leading to potential health complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, stroke, kidney disease, and vision issues over time. For individuals with obesity health risk, losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight through regular, moderate exercise can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

2. Heart Disease

Obesity is closely linked to an increased prevalence of heart disease. Over time, fatty deposits may accumulate in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Individuals with obesity often experience elevated blood pressure, high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar which are all contributing factors to heart disease. Narrowed arteries can lead to heart attacks, while blood clots in these constricted arteries may result in strokes.

3. Stroke

Stroke and heart disease share common risk factors which may manifest as negative effects of obesity . Strokes occur when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, causing damage to brain tissue and potentially leading to various disabilities, including speech and language impairment, weakened muscles, and changes in thinking and reasoning skills. According to a 2010 review involving almost 2.3 million participants across 25 studies, obesity was found to increase the risk of stroke by 64 percent.

4. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by temporary pauses in breathing during sleep. Individuals who are overweight or living with obesity face an increased risk of experiencing sleep apnea. This heightened risk is attributed to the accumulation of fat around the neck, causing a narrowing of the airway. A restricted airway can result in snoring and difficulties in breathing during the night. Reducing weight can be beneficial in reducing fat around the neck and lowering the likelihood of sleep apnea.

5. High Blood Pressure

The presence of excess fat tissue in the body demands more oxygen and nutrients, requiring an increased blood circulation to supply these needs. Consequently, the heart must exert more effort to pump blood throughout the body.
This heightened blood flow places additional pressure on the artery walls, leading to high blood pressure or hypertension. Over time, sustained high blood pressure, one of the serious complications of obesity, can inflict damage on the heart and arteries.

6. Liver Disease

Individuals dealing with obesity may develop a liver condition known as fatty liver disease or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This condition arises when an excess accumulation of fat occurs in the liver, potentially causing damage or the growth of scar tissue, known as cirrhosis.
Fatty liver disease typically manifests without noticeable symptoms but can progress to liver failure. The primary approach to addressing or managing the condition involves weight loss, regular exercise, and abstaining from alcohol consumption.

7. Diseases of Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small gland that is responsible for storing a substance known as bile. Bile helps you digest fats. Obesity enhances the risk of developing gallstones. It usually happens when excess bile builds up and solidifies in the gallbladder. Obese people have higher levels of cholesterol in their bile or may have large gallbladders that don’t function well, leading to formation of gallstones. Gallstones cause pain and may require surgery. Eating a high fiber diet and good fats may help in preventing gallstones. Excluding refined grains like white rice, bread, and pasta from your diet can help.

8. Certain cancers

Some studies suggest that obesity or fat problems can increase the risk for development of certain cancers, such as breast, gallbladder, colon, kidney, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. It is even linked to cancers of the uterus, endometrium, cervix, and ovaries.

9. Pregnancy Complications

Expecting mothers who are overweight or have obesity face a higher likelihood of developing insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure issues. This heightened susceptibility can elevate the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery, including:

In Mothers

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Requirement for a cesarean delivery (C-section)
  • Formation of blood clots
  • Experiencing heavier post-delivery bleeding than usual
  • Miscarriage

In Baby

  • Premature birth
  • Stillbirth
  • Brain and spinal cord defects

If you are contemplating pregnancy and are overweight or have obesity, initiating a weight management plan is advisable to mitigate the mentioned health risks. Consult with your healthcare provider to discuss safe physical activities during pregnancy.

10. Depression

Depression is a common experience for many individuals affected by obesity. Several studies have established a significant correlation between obesity and major depressive disorder. People grappling with obesity may frequently encounter discrimination based on their body size, contributing to prolonged feelings of sadness or diminished self-worth. Presently, advocacy groups like the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) are actively addressing discrimination rooted in body size, offering opportunities for involvement in advocacy efforts. 

How to Keep Yourself In Best Body Weight?

You can lower risk for many health conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, just by losing even 5 percent of your body weight. A combination of healthy dieting and exercising can accomplish your weight loss slowly over time. Indeed, there’s no need to bring drastic changes in your lifestyle to achieve that. The key is to stay consistent and always make healthy choices.
Include at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity in a week. You can include brisk walking. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking a day will help you reach your goal. After some time, keep increasing your workout targets. Also, try to  go for body strengthening exercises like pushups or situps at least twice a week into your routine.

  • Eat healthier always and beat your overweight problems. Some tips are:
  • Allocate half of your plate to vegetables
  • Substitute refined grains, such as white bread and pasta, with whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal
  • Opt for lean protein sources like chicken, seafood, beans, and soy
  • Eliminate fried foods, fast foods, and sugary snacks
  • Steer clear of sugary drinks like sodas and juices
  • Abstain from alcohol.

Your doctor can tell you whether you are a good candidate for weight loss surgery or medications. 

Healthy Weight Loss Tips


  • Engage in 150 minutes of physical activity each week; this can be divided into shorter sessions
  • Try to eat your five a day; one portion is equal to 80g of fresh, canned, or frozen fruit or vegetables
  • Try to shed a pound or two, or 0.5 to 1 kg, each week
  • Examine food labels carefully. Green-colored items are typically healthier than those that are amber or red
  • Replace sugary drinks with water; if the taste is off, add some flavor with slices of lemon or lime
  • Reduce your intake of foods heavy in fat and sugar. One way to start is by replacing sugary cereal with whole grain options
  • Give someone you trust access to your weight loss plan so they can encourage you on days when you're not feeling well


  • Don't use diets to lose weight quickly
  • Don't keep junk food on hand; rice cakes, popcorn, and fruit are better options
  • Avoid skipping meals as this may lead to increased snacking due to hunger
  • If your plate is full, don't eat it all; you can save leftovers for the following day

Summing up

Your mental and physical health can be negatively impacted by obesity. Even though you might not know where to start, managing your health now can save you from problems like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. See your doctor about visiting a therapist, increasing your physical activity, changing your diet, and taking other therapeutic approaches to manage health problems due to obesity.

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