Is obesity serious?

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Obesity is linked with some of the most prevalent and costly medical problems seen in daily practice. Obesity alone is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, cancer, and early death. In combination with the metabolic syndrome, it further increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. In sum, obesity affects at least nine organ systems of the body.

Note that the psychosocial complications of obesity may be as significant as the physical health concerns. Obese people, particularly those with extreme obesity, may experience discrimination and other difficulties in the workplace or in personal relationships, leadingto poor self-esteem, social withdrawal, depression, and other mental health problems. In addition, obesity may lower the individual’s perception of general health, while comorbid disorders and their effect on physical function may lower morale.

Both psychosocial and other medical factors contribute to a decline in general health and quality of life. A continuum has been observed between mildly, moderately, and severely obese individuals, with quality of life worsening with increasing body weight and the number of acquired comorbid illnesses.


Being overweight increases the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, which are among the leading causes of death among Americans. Currently, slightly over 68 percent of Americans are overweight, and approximately 34 percent of this group are considered obese.

John La Puma
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Yes, obesity stresses your heart, joints, brain and immune system. It also creates stress, both metabolically and psychologically.  It's even more serious in men than in women.

Obesity can be very serious, as it takes a heavy toll on all of your organs and bodily processes. In the United States alone, obesity causes about 300,000 deaths annually. Complications from obesity include irregular cholesterol and blood pressure, artery and heart disease, diabetes, cancer, troubled breathing, and several other conditions.

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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.