The Health Hazards of Obesity

Obesity is a complex disorder that increases a person’s risk for health hazards and serious diseases. Obesity occurs when you consume more calories than you expend and it differs from overweight, which refers to weighing too much. Obesity Beach Picture2

Factors that affect a person’s weight include overeating, high-fat intake, not being active, and genetics. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2010, more than 2 in 3 adults are overweight or obese, with more than 5% of adults considered to have extreme obesity.

The tool used to estimate weight is the body mass index (BMI). For adults, the ranges of overweight and obesity are determined using the BMI, a weight-height calculation. BMI correlates a person’s amount of body fat.


  • Overweight – A BMI between 25 and 29.9
  • Obesity – A BMI of 30 or higher


The World Health Organization reports that globally there has been an increased intake of high-fat, energy-dense foods as well as a decrease in physical activity among the general population. Where the weight accumulates contributes to health risks, with accumulation of belly fat (apple shape) being more risky than thigh and buttock fat (pear shape). Below are some of the serious health hazards of obesity.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Excessive weight increases your likelihood of developing high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Both of these medical conditions increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is caused when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, reducing blood flow to the cardiac muscle of the heart.

This makes conditions like myocardial infarction (heart attack) and heart failure (dropsy) more likely. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), losing 5% to 10% of your weight will lower the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

Type 2 Diabetes

diabetes-picture-300x199Type 2 diabetes mellitus increases a person’s risk for heart disease, and many people who are overweight or obese develop diabetes. The body breaks down food into glucose, and this circulates in the blood as it passes through the body. The pancreas releases insulin to turn glucose into energy, but with diabetes, there is not enough insulin to convert the glucose.

Therefore, it stays elevated in the bloodstream. Losing weight will help you stabilize your blood glucose (sugar) levels and control this condition. Many people who lose weight find that their blood sugar returns to normal.


Certain types of cancer are linked to obesity and excessive body weight. These include colon, kidney, breast, endometrial, esophagus, gallbladder, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers. Maintaining a heathy size is important for cancer prevention.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease that is associated with excessive body fat. This condition affects the knees, hips, and back, as carrying extra pounds puts pressure on the joints and breaks down the tissue cushioning the joints (cartilage). Losing weight will ease the stress and strain on the knees, lower back, and hips and improve symptoms of OA.


Another joint disease linked to obesity is gout, which occurs from too much uric acid in the blood stream. Sudden weight gain puts a person at risk for a gout flare-up, which causes painful joints.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes a person to snore heavily and have episodes where breathing ceases during sleep. This occurs due to fat that is stored around the neck, narrowing the airway and interfering with breathing. People with sleep apnea also are drowsy during the daytime. In addition, sleep apnea increases the risk for stroke and/or heart disease.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that make a person at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The doctor makes a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome when you have three of the following:

  • Large waistline
  • High triglyceride level
  • Low HDL cholesterol level
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood glucose

Obviously these risks are mitigated if an individual can lose weight and keep it off. Call Medifast Weight Control Centers today to discuss how the Arizona weight loss clinics can help at (602) 996-9669!


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