Health Problems Related to Obesity

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

WEBMD – Excess weight, especially as body fat can lead to health and wellness issues. Shedding pounds may prevent, slow, or even reverse many of them, including:

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

When fat builds up in the cells of your liver, it can damage the liver and then may lead to scarring (a condition known as cirrhosis) that can eventually shut your liver down completely.

Symptoms may not appear until the damage is done. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes fatty liver disease, but one risk factor is that you’re more likely to have problems when you’re overweight. This damage is 2-3 times higher in people that have obesity. But early diagnosis and treatments are available to help reverse this.


Excess weight puts more strain on your joints and on the cartilage that protects the ends of your bones, causing pain and stiffness. More body fat also triggers more inflammation.

Just losing 5% of your body weight will take pressure off of your hips, lower back, and knees. (That’s dropping from 200 pounds to 190.) Exercise is one of the best things you can do for arthritis. Talk to your doctor about what kind and how much is right for you.

High Cholesterol

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While your genes have some influence, what you eat and how much you exercise also play a role. Unhealthy foods can raise your weight and your “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease which kills about 700,000 people every year in the US. Foods with soluble fiber — like oats and other whole grains, beans, apples, grapes, strawberries, eggplant, and okra — will help get your cholesterol down as well as fill you up so you eat fewer calories.

Type 2 Diabetes

Belly fat is linked to insulin resistance. That’s when your body makes insulin, but your cells can’t use it properly to get glucose out of your blood.

People affected by obesity are about 10 times more likely to have high blood sugar …


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