Health Risks of Overweight & Obesity

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What is obesity?

Obesity is a condition in which a person has an unhealthy amount of body fat distribution. It increases the risk for various serious health complications. Excess body fat puts a burden on the bones and organs. It also causes complex alterations in hormones and metabolism and raises inflammation in the body.

People with obesity or overweight problems have a body mass index of 30 or higher. You can keep a check on your BMI using an online calculator. You only need to know about your height and weight.

Having a risk factor for obesity doesn’t mean that you’ll have the following health problems. But it does raise your chances of developing any of them. 

Health risks of overweight and obesity

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that happens when your blood sugar, is too high. About 8 out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes are usually overweight or have obesity. Over time, this could lead to problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, nerve damage, and other health problems.

If you are at risk of type 2 diabetes, losing 5-7 per cent of your body weight and doing regular physical activity may prevent type 2 diabetes.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure, is a condition in which blood flows through your blood vessels with a force much more than normal flow. High blood pressure can stress your heart, damage blood vessels, and increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.


A stroke is a condition in which the blood supply to your brain is suddenly stopped, either caused by a blockage or the bursting of a blood vessel in your brain or neck. A stroke can damage the brain tissue and make you unable to move parts of your body. 

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you are unable to breathe regularly while sleeping. You may pause breathing altogether for short periods of time. Not treating this condition may raise your risk of other health issues, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Metabolic syndrome

A metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that put you at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Some of these conditions include

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood glucose levels
  • high triglyceride levels in your blood
  • low levels of HDL cholesterol
  • too much fat around your waist

Fatty liver diseases

These are conditions in which fat builds up in your liver. Fatty liver diseases comprise  nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Fatty liver diseases may cause severe liver damage, cirrhosis, or even failure of the liver.


Osteoarthritis is a common, long-lasting problem that causes pain, swelling, and reduced movement in your joints. Being overweight or having obesity may increase your risk of getting osteoarthritis by putting more pressure on your joints and cartilage.

Gallbladder diseases

Being overweight and obese can increase your risk of getting gallbladder diseases, such as gallstones and cholecystitis. If bile contains too much cholesterol then gallstones may form.

Some cancers

In all types of cancer, some of the cells of the body begin to divide without stopping and spread into all the surrounding tissues. Being overweight and obese may increase your risk of having certain types of cancer.

Kidney disease

Having kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged, not functioning properly and can’t filter blood as they should. Obesity increases the danger of diabetes and high blood pressure, which are the most common issues of kidney disease. Even obesity itself may promote kidney disease and fasten its damage.

Pregnancy problems

Overweight and obese increase the risk of problems that may occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women who are obese or overweight may have more chance of 

  • developing gestational diabetes
  • having preeclampsia 
  • needing a cesarean section, or C-section

How to lower your risk of developing Obesity?

Losing as little as 5 per cent of your body weight can reduce your risk for several health conditions, like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

A combination of a balanced diet and good exercise can help you lose weight slowly and took you to a more fitness world over a period of time. There’s no need to make sudden changes to your lifestyle. But you need to be consistent with your healthy choices.

Plan for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. You can include a brisk walk in your activity. Once you’ve got used to it, try increasing your exercise to 300 minutes per week. Also, try to add strengthening activities into your routine at least twice a week.

A few ways to eat healthier include:

  • Fill half of your plate with vegetables.
  • Replace unrefined grains with whole grains.
  • Eat lean sources of protein.
  • Stop eating fried foods, fast foods, and sugary snacks.
  • Avoid any sugary drinks.
  • Avoid alcohol.

Take Away

Obesity can affect both physical and mental health. You may not be sure of where to begin, but taking a step now will help to manage your health and can prevent you from complications like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Speak to your doctor about exercising, eating a healthier diet and other treatment options.