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Health risks of obesity

There is a good evidence to show that adult obesity is associated with increased risks of the following health problems:


  • Obesity is the second cause of preventable death in the world after smoking.

Metabolic and endocrine systems

  • Type 2 diabetes. 
  • High total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides with speeding up atherosclerosis. 
  • Metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of disorders including high blood glucose, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Gout.

Circulatory system

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure), which is itself a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke and renal failure.
  • Coronary heart disease and stroke.
  • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.


  • Several cancers, including endometrial, breast and colon cancers.

Reproductive and urological problems

  • Stress incontinence in women.
  • Menstrual abnormalities, polycystic ovarian syndrome and infertility. 
  • Erectile dysfunction in men.

Respiratory problem

  • Sleep apnea (interruptions to breathing while asleep) and other respiratory problems such as asthma.

Gastrointestinal and liver disease

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Gastro-esophageal reflux.
  • Gall stones.

Musculoskeletal system

  • Strain on the body’s joints, especially the knees, with increased risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Low back pain.

Psychological and social problems

  • Migraine.
  • Stress, low self-esteem, social disadvantage, depression and reduced libido.