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Health Risks Of Being Obese

Health Risks Of Being Obese

Many of us are already well aware that being overweight is bad for our overall health. A few pounds over on the scale is not a problem, but if you continue to gain, you may find yourself in the obese category down the road. The health risks of being obese are not just heart disease. Your physical and mental health may also take a big hit.

Health risks of being obese

Despite popular misconceptions, obesity is not simply a consequence of eating too much and being lazy. Obesity is considered a multi-factorial disease, which means it has a mixture of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

Risk Factors Of Obesity: It’s Not All About Choices

#1: Emotional and mental distress

Unfortunately, mental and emotional health risks related to obesity are treated as an afterthought. While preventing and treating things like heart disease should be the priority, mental health cannot be forgotten.

Many statistics and studies have shown that adolescents who are overweight or obese report more psychosocial problems than their average-weight peers. Things such as bullying, low self-esteem, depression, and suicidal ideation are more common in overweight individuals.

To make matters worse, people who are obese are often told (or pressured) to lose weight as soon as possible. Telling someone to lose weight without any definite plans may be more harmful than helpful. Health care workers and loved ones should always be considerate and compassionate when approaching people who are obese.

#2: Risk of developing eating disorders

Additionally, people who are obese have an increased risk of developing eating disorders. With much emphasis on watching their diet and exercising as much as possible, there is no wonder why some people develop eating disorders. Many may even resort to diet pills or dangerous fad diets.

Most of the time, anorexia and bulimia are associated with the image of an extremely thin and frail person. However, this is just a stereotype. People with eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, including those who are obese or athletic.

Common Myths and Facts About Eating Disorders

#3: Cardiovascular disease

Because the modern diet has a tendency to include a lot of fast food and processed food, obesity has become a growing global issue. The problem with processed food is that it is often high in fat, sodium, sugar, calories, and artificial ingredients.

On top of poor diets, people have become less physically active due to the convenience of cars and computers. In addition, many people work long hours sitting at a desk with minimal physical effort. For leisure, many people opt to stay home.

Over time, poor diet and lack of exercise cause unhealthy weight gain. Even worse, a diet that is high in fat and sugar coupled with a sedentary lifestyle can lead to cardiovascular disease. Too much fat and cholesterol can clog arteries or lead to stroke. Not enough cardio exercises can weaken the heart muscles and predispose you to hypertension.

health risks of being obese

#4: Arthritis

Normally, we think of arthritis as an elderly condition. However, obesity can increase the risk even in younger patients. The type of arthritis overweight and obese individuals need to worry about is osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is caused by “wear and tear” of bones and cartilage in the joints.

The heavier you are for your build, the more strain there is on your joints and entire body. The longer you carry excess weight, the more damage there is to your joints. This is why people who are obese should not dive into exercise without an evaluation by a doctor.

The wrong type and volume of exercise could speed up damage to the joints. Unfortunately, this damage may not be reversible after a certain point. Therefore, it is best to lose weight quickly but safely.

#5: Metabolic syndrome

Last, but not least, is the danger of metabolic syndrome. First, what is metabolic syndrome? This is a combination of conditions that include diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. These three diseases can occur separately but can increase the risk of developing the other two.

Factors and symptoms of metabolic syndrome include:

Because hypertension, diabetes, and obesity have a large lifestyle component, they can be managed and prevented through healthy diet and exercise. If diet and exercise are not enough, medications and even surgery can be prescribed.

health risks of being obese

Key takeaways

In summary, there are many health risks of being overweight or obese. Many of these risks and diseases are preventable if you can identify and control your problems early on. There may be cases wherein diet and exercise will not be enough. It is best to talk to a doctor for a check up and evaluation. He or she will help you determine your health risks as well as plan your weight-loss management.

Learn more about Obesity here.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Overweight and obesity https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/overweight-and-obesity Accessed January 31, 2021

Health risks of being overweight https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-risks-overweight Accessed January 31, 2021

Adult obesity causes & consequences https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html Accessed January 31, 2021

Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity Among Adults: United States, 2017–2018 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db360.htm Accessed January 31, 2021

Health risks https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-consequences/health-effects/ Accessed January 31, 2021

Metabolic syndrome https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/metabolic-syndrome/ Accessed January 31, 2021

Associations between overweight and mental health problems among adolescents, and the mediating role of victimization https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-6832-z Accessed January 31, 2021

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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Feb 01