Health Impacts of Obesity

Obesity is both a cause and consequence of many other diseases, including some cancers.

The related conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Breathing difficulties, such as sleep apnea, asthma
  • Lower back pain, and degenerative joint disease
  • Difficulties with fertility and pregnancy
  • Digestive diseases, such as gastro-esophageal reflux disease
  • Gallbladder disease including gallstones
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Urinary incontinence

These conditions occur more frequently in people with severe obesity (stage 3). Mortality rates from many of these conditions are also higher among people with stage 3 obesity.

In addition to physical health risks excess weight can affect the psychological and emotional wellbeing of a person living with obesity.

For example:

  • Negative self-image
  • Discrimination
  • Social isolation

Furthermore, some people living with obesity may experience difficulties with day to day living. Tasks such as hygiene and self-care getting dressed etc. are more difficult to perform and may require assistance.

An emerging body of literature demonstrates a relationship between obesity in a mother and structural birth defects, including increased risk of spina bifida and heart defects in the developing baby. Therefore, it is critical that women who are living with obesity seek medical attention, before they fall pregnant-so as to optimize their health as much as possible beforehand.

Consequences of weight stigma

weight stigma

  • The University of New South Wales
  • Obesity Australia
  • ANZMOSS – Australian & New Zealand Metabolic and Obesity Surgery Society
  • Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Care Specialist
  • Strategic  Centre for Obesity Professional Education
  • World Obesity