Obesity is on the rise in the U.S.  Research shows that one in three people in this country is obese.  It has even become a problem in children and adolescents aged 2-19 years.  Obesity has been linked to a number of different health issues of serious concern.  Many people have found that obesity has impacted their quality of life.

Obesity is determined by calculating a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI).  There are formulas available to calculate BMI based on height and weight.  A BMI of 30.0 and above is considered obese.

The following list contains serious health risks that are linked to obesity.

Heart disease and stroke

Obesity can cause a lowering of good cholesterol, an increase in bad cholesterol levels, and an increase in triglycerides.  Obesity is a major risk factor in coronary artery disease, which is a buildup of cholesterol plaque in the arteries of the heart.  Obesity puts individuals at risk for atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm, and increases their risk for heart failure.  Even moderate weight loss can reduce the risks in these areas.


Obesity is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes.  Diabetes increases the risk for heart disease.  Excess abdominal fat can make the body less sensitive to insulin by disrupting the function of insulin responsive cells.  This is known as insulin resistance.  Weight loss is an important goal in treating type 2 diabetes and may reduce the need for medication.

High blood pressure

Obesity is linked to high blood pressure (hypertension).  Obese people need more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to their bodies.  The heart has to work harder to accommodate the need.  High blood pressure is a common cause of heart attacks.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.  According to the Sleep Foundation, excess weight creates fat deposits in the neck that can block the upper airway during sleep.  Excess fat in the abdomen compresses the chest wall, reducing lung capacity.  Lack of sleep is associated with weight gain, making it a vicious cycle.


Osteoarthritis is a chronic, progressive joint disorder that is strongly associated with obesity.  Being overweight puts extra pressure on joints like the knees and hips.  This speeds destruction of the cartilage.  Fat cells also release proteins that cause inflammation.  This increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis in non-load bearing joints such as the fingers and hands.

Some cancers

Many people do not realize that some cancers have been linked to obesity.  These include colon cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, and pancreatic cancer.  Obese people often have chronic low-level inflammation, which is a risk factor for certain types of cancer.

RMD Primary Care offers medical weight loss services.  If you are looking for a healthy approach to weight loss, contact us today for an appointment.