primary concern of overweight and obesity is one of health and not
* An estimated 300,000 deaths per year may be attributable to obesity.
* The risk of death rises with increasing weight.
* Even moderate weight excess (10 to 20 pounds for a person of average
height) increases the risk of death, particularly among adults aged 30
to 64 years.
* Individuals who are obese (BMI > 30) have a 50 to 100% increased risk
of premature death from all causes, compared to individuals with a
* The incidence of heart disease (heart attack, congestive heart
failure, sudden cardiac death, angina or chest pain, and abnormal heart
rhythm) is increased in persons who are overweight or obese (BMI > 25).
* High blood pressure is twice as common in adults who are obese than in
those who are at a healthy weight.
* Obesity is associated with elevated triglycerides (blood fat) and
decreased HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol").
* A weight gain of 11 to 18 pounds increases a person's risk of
developing type 2 diabetes to twice that of individuals who have not
* Over 80% of people with diabetes are overweight or obese.
* Overweight and obesity are associated with an increased risk for some
types of cancer including endometrial (cancer of the lining of the
uterus), colon, gall bladder, prostate, kidney, and postmenopausal
* Women gaining more than 20 pounds from age 18 to midlife double their
risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, compared to women whose weight
* Sleep apnea (interrupted breathing while sleeping) is more common in
* Obesity is associated with a higher prevalence of asthma.
* For every 2-pound increase in weight, the risk of developing arthritis
is increased by 9 to 13%.
* Symptoms of arthritis can improve with weight loss.
* Complications of pregnancy
o Obesity during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of death in
both the baby and the mother and increases the risk of maternal high
blood pressure by 10 times.
o In addition to many other complications, women who are obese during
pregnancy are more likely to have gestational diabetes and problems with
labor and delivery.
o Infants born to women who are obese during pregnancy are more likely
to be high birthweight and, therefore, may face a higher rate of
Cesarean section delivery and low blood sugar (which can be associated
with brain damage and seizures).
o Obesity during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of birth
defects, particularly neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
* Obesity in premenopausal women is associated with irregular menstrual
cycles and infertility.
ADDITIONAL HEALTH CONSEQUENCES
* Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risks of gall
bladder disease, incontinence, increased surgical risk, and depression.
* Obesity can affect the quality of life through limited mobility and
decreased physical endurance as well as through social, academic, and
CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
* Risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol and high
blood pressure, occur with increased frequency in overweight children
and adolescents compared to those with a healthy weight.
* Type 2 diabetes, previously considered an adult disease, has increased
dramatically in children and adolescents. Overweight and obesity are
closely linked to type 2 diabetes.
* Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or
obese adults. This increases to 80% if one or more parent is overweight
* The most immediate consequence of overweight, as perceived by children
themselves, is social discrimination.
BENEFITS OF WEIGHT LOSS
* Weight loss, as modest as 5 to 15% of total body weight in a person
who is overweight or obese, reduces the risk factors for some diseases,
particularly heart disease.
* Weight loss can result in lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and
improved cholesterol levels.
* A person with a Body Mass Index (BMI) above the healthy weight range
may benefit from weight loss, especially if he or she has other health
risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking,
diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, and a personal and/or family history of