World Obesity Day 2024: 9 Health Effects Of Obesity & Overweight

Know the health effects of obesity and how is the condition affecting us

3 min read

Obesity is not just a matter of carrying excess weight; it's a serious health condition with far-reaching implications. Beyond its cosmetic effects, obesity significantly increases the risk of developing various diseases and health conditions, affecting virtually every aspect of one's well-being. World Obesity Day is celebrated around the world on 4 March every year. Know the ill effects of obesity on our bodies.

Obesity is a complex health condition with diverse consequences for physical and mental health. Addressing obesity requires a comprehensive approach, including lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, increased physical activity, and medical interventions. By understanding the wide-ranging health risks associated with obesity, individuals and healthcare providers can work together to mitigate its impact and improve overall health outcomes.

Let's delve into the multifaceted consequences of obesity on health.


Dr Vidhe Sharma, Consultant Physician at Ruby Hall Clinic, Hinjawadi sheds light on the health effects of obesity:

Type 2 Diabetes- One of the most well-known health consequences of obesity is type 2 diabetes. Obesity contributes to insulin resistance, leading to elevated blood sugar levels and eventually progressing to type 2 diabetes. This chronic metabolic disorder can result in severe complications such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney failure, and vision loss.

Heart Disease and Stroke- Obesity is closely linked to heart disease and stroke. Excess body fat contributes to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis and increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Obesity also heightens other cardiovascular risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and inflammation, further exacerbating the risk of heart disease.

Cancer- According to US NIH, obesity is a significant risk factor for various types of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and endometrial cancer. Adipose tissue produces hormones and growth factors that can promote the growth and spread of cancer cells. Chronic low-grade inflammation associated with obesity also contributes to cancer development.

Sleep Apnea- Individuals who are overweight or obese are more prone to sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Excess body weight narrows the airway, leading to interrupted breathing and disrupted sleep patterns. Sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, daytime fatigue, and impaired cognitive function.

Osteoarthritis- Obesity contributes to the development of osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. The excess weight places added stress on the joints, particularly in the knees, hips, and lower back, leading to cartilage breakdown, inflammation, pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)- Obesity is a major risk factor for NAFLD, a spectrum of liver conditions ranging from simple fatty liver to more severe forms like NASH and cirrhosis. Excess fat accumulation in the liver leads to inflammation and liver damage over time, potentially progressing to more serious liver complications if left untreated.

Kidney Disease- Obesity-related hypertension and diabetes increase the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Additionally, metabolic abnormalities and inflammation associated with obesity directly contribute to kidney damage.

Pregnancy Complications- Healthline highlights that obesity during pregnancy increases the risk of complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery. It also heightens the risk of complications for both the mother and the baby, including preterm birth, birth defects, and stillbirth.

Mental Health Issues- Obesity is associated with an increased risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The psychological burden of obesity, including social stigma, poor body image, and discrimination, can negatively impact mental well-being.

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