Health Risks Related To Being Overweight or Obese

Written by Christian Nordqvist Editor, Medical News Today

What are the health consequences of being obese or overweight?

One day we are told there is an obesity epidemic which is killing nearly as many people as smoking is. Then we are told the numbers were slightly wrong, or substantially wrong. Tabloids now tell us it is OK to be fat as long as you are not obese.

Bear in mind that any report that measures the number of deaths caused by 'obesity' will be misleading.

We all know that obesity/overweight can lead to high blood pressure. We also know that high blood pressure increases your risk of having a stroke. If an obese/overweight person develops high blood pressure and then dies of a stroke, what will his/her death certificate say? It will say he/she died of a stroke - it won't say the person died of obesity or overweight.

So, if we carry out a national study on deaths due to obesity by studying death certificates, how can we possibly know how many.....?

If a person is obese, the risk of developing many diseases and health conditions increases - here is a list of a few:

-- Hypertension (high blood pressure)

-- Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)

-- Type 2 diabetes

-- Coronary heart disease

-- Stroke

-- Gallbladder disease

-- Osteoarthritis

-- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems

-- Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)

Being overweight also has a bearing on your chances of recovering from many cancers. Obese people are much more likely to have fast advancing prostate cancer than people who are of normal weight. Normal weight people, if they get prostate cancer, are more likely to have a slow advancing one.

If it is OK to be plump, how plump is OK? Where do we draw the line between Obesity and Overweight? The transition is not black and white - it is gradual. If a person is classed as overweight, but not quite obese, how can we tell that person that as long as he/she remains just at the limit of overweight (not yet obese), there is no increased risk of developing these diseases - that his/her life expectancy will not be affected?

Walk down a busy road and see how many obese or overweight people there are:

Aged 20 - 29 -- quite a few Aged 30 - 39 -- quite a few Aged 40 - 49 -- Even more Aged 60 - 69 -- some, but not as many as the group above Aged 70 - 79 -- fewer Aged 80 - 89 -- very very few Over the age of 90 - hardly any at all.

Isn't this telling us something? It is either telling us that people go on diets when they get old, or that people who are obese and overweight get filtered out long the way.