Obesity Health Risks

Obesity is more than a cosmetic problem; it is a health hazard. Several serious medical conditions have been linked to obesity, including: 
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
Obesity is also linked to higher rates of certain types of cancer. Obese men are more likely than non-obese men to die from cancer of the colon, rectum, or prostate. Obese women are more likely than non-obese women to die from cancer of the gallbladder, breast, uterus, cervix, or ovaries.
Health care providers generally agree that the more obese a person is, the more likely he or she is to develop health problems. Other diseases and health problems linked to obesity include: 
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • Liver disease
  • Osteoarthritis, a disease in which the joints deteriorate (possibly the result of excess weight on the joints)
  • Gout, another disease affecting the joints
  • Pulmonary (breathing) problems, including sleep apnea in which a person can stop breathing for a short time during sleep
  • Reproductive problems in women, including menstrual irregularities and infertility

Psychological and social effects

Emotional suffering may be one of the most painful parts of obesity. American society emphasizes physical appearance and often equates attractiveness with slimness, especially for women. Such messages make overweight people feel unattractive. Many people think that obese individuals are gluttonous, lazy, or both, even though this is not true. As a result, obese people often face prejudice or discrimination in the job market, at school and in social situations. Feelings of rejection, shame or depression are common.