How does obesity affect the body?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Obesity creates surplus body fat when you consume more calories than you can burn in a given day. This taxes all of the organs and daily bodily processes. It can create troubled breathing, sleep problems, and joint and back pain. Obesity can also result in complications like high cholesterol and blood pressure, organ problems and cancer, and depression.

Wendy Batts
Fitness Specialist

Obesity greatly increases the risk for multiple health problems including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
  • Stroke
  • Liver and Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)

Obesity is defined as a BMI over 30, check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) BMI calculator at for more information.

You can also learn more from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at

Approximately 65 percent of U.S. adults are currently overweight or obese. Obesity is now considered one of the major preventable causes of illness and death in the United States. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for developing chronic health conditions such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, breathing problems, depression, certain cancers, joint pain and orthopaedic injuries.

The good news is that becoming obese is preventable, and even reversible. As a nation, Americans have become extremely unhealthy due to the poor lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis. Approximately 54 percent of Americans are not regularly active, and 15 percent get absolutely no physical activity at all. In addition, many Americans eat meals that could feed an entire family of four!

It is time to turn the poor health of America around. We need to make a conscious effort each day to be physically active, to choose more nutritious foods and watch our portion sizes. In other words, eat less, move more and enjoy a much healthier and improved quality of life.

Continue Learning about Obesity

How Can the Obesity Problem In America Be Solved?
How Can the Obesity Problem In America Be Solved?
How Our Western Diet Is Making Us Fat
How Our Western Diet Is Making Us Fat
What Are the Health Risks of Belly Fat?
What Are the Health Risks of Belly Fat?
How Can Government Fight Childhood Obesity?
How Can Government Fight Childhood Obesity?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.