What Health Diseases Are Associated With Obesity?

  • Qayyum Mumtaz Master in healthcare management, Public Health, Riphah International University
  • Zayan Siddiqui BSc in Chemistry with Biomedicine, KCL, MSc in Drug Discovery and Pharma Management, UCL

Obesity is a condition in which a person's body mass index (BMI), divided by individual body weight, is more than or equivalent to 30 while a person having a BMI of 25.0-29.9 is considered overweight.1

Obesity prevalence has occurred universally in some divisions of Sub-Saharan Asia and Africa and parts with low obesity rates.

Globally, there has been a surge in obesity in the last five decades. Subsequently, this rise in obesity and overweight rates leads to more deaths than underweight.

In this article, we will discuss the diseases that are linked to obesity and consider the fact of getting rid of these diseases or preventing them by adjusting our daily routines to lead a healthy life. The diseases are listed below:1

Cardiovascular disease

Obesity, being a severe public health concern, is linked with cardiovascular disease.

These all increase the risk of cardiac-related disorders. These risks are not only controlled by approaches such as the following:

However, there are other therapeutic strategies used to reduce weight, like drugs to reduce weight and heart disease complications. The frequency of death and health incidents associated with the following:2 

These can be minimised by bariatric surgery and similarly by adjusting lifestyle changes and quality of life. Cardiac rehabilitation programs in overweight individuals can cut down the risk of myocardial infarction and high blood pressure.

Metabolic syndrome

More than 1 billion people globally are suffering from obesity due to atypical and unreasonable build-up of fat. Many metabolic disorders, such as the following:

These can lead to chronic kidney disease and is linked with obesity. Several causes like3 

are related to being overweight. Managing exercise and eating habits can help to control obesity. Probiotics play a vital role in gut health, metabolic disorders and obesity.

Respiratory disease

Obesity leads to the highest number of complications with respiratory diseases like

Sleep apnea is linked to increased body mass index. Overweight individuals must focus on weight loss in order to have proper and better sleep at night.

There is an increased risk of 

in individuals having obesity that can lead to death due to inactivity of blood flow and injury of endothelial cells. Improper antibiotic medication dosage will generate more infections in obese patients. In older obese patients with respiratory illness, there is a chance of bloodstream infections in the hospital setting.4

Obesity generates involuntary contraction of the lungs and diaphragm, which causes limiting respiratory injury. Moreover, increased respiratory protection decreases pulmonary endurance, and compliance reduces excess fat.5

Musculoskeletal condition

Obesity is associated with musculoskeletal diseases that cause back or knee pain and can be prevented by losing weight. The common diseases are:

Knee osteoarthritis is the principal condition of obesity. Increased body mass index is linked with back pain, and the only alternative to eliminate this pain is to reduce weight. Dietary supervision offered to obese patients can have a significant impact on weight loss. Furthermore, exercises like 

help in reducing weight for those who are overweight, but these exercises must be performed by consultation of health professionals

Constant musculoskeletal disorders in obese patients yield antagonistic relationships and well-being. Integrative supervision for rehabilitation and safeguarding is greatly required in patients with these conditions.6


Obesity has been related to many cancers, like

Individuals with obese conditions seldom have elevated insulin blood values, and female patients' fat tissue is linked with breast and ovarian cancer due to the high yield of oestrogen.

Weight changes are ordinary in cancer. Losing total body weight of 5% to 10% can decrease the chance of growing cancer. Eating an adequate diet and regular physical activity can also reduce cancer risk.

Similarly, hormones related to 

affect our hunger, body fat distribution and metabolism, and obese patients have these hormones in their bodies. Therefore obesity elevates cancer mortality and the epidemiology study states that there is a chance of recurring cancer along with obesity management.7

Moreover, the burden of cancer concerning obesity is higher in women 13.1% than in men 11.9%.8 This obesity-related cancer is also of great concern for public health and causes an increased burden for the population.

are the risk factors for various malignancies. These elements must be controlled or prevented so that there is less chance of cancer spread. 

Mental health

Obesity and mental health are closely associated, and over time, it causes the symptoms of 

The emotion of losing an effort in mind to lose weight will cause discomfort, and that will affect mental health. Anxiety and depression are linked with excessive eating and low food options, and this leads to obesity. Obese children can have a lack of self-confidence and can generate bad educational grades. This relationship of obesity and mental health will also interfere with the sexual life, mood and social connection.

The high or low rate of body mass index will eventually result in the symptoms of depression, and that is more prevalent in women. Consequently, the obesity rate has increased to 6% while the mental disease frequency is more than 12% for adolescents and children.9

Comorbidities of psychiatric disorders linked with obesity can only be treated by not consuming an unhealthy diet and doing physical exercise to reduce weight and achieve a normal BMI.

Reproductive health

Overweight women tend to have high-fat content. This increased fat can slow the hormone balance and generate decreased fertility. Furthermore. this can disrupt the menstrual cycle by a variety of hormonal changes. Irregular ovulation may cause excessive production of insulin and negatively affect the ovulation production.

Obesity affects the reproduction volume at many phases like

  • Resistance of Insulin
  • Changes in hormones (reproductive)
  • Embryo growth
  • Elevated level of miscarriage
  • Unnatural reproductive results

In an obese person who is assigned male at birth (AMAB), his male hormone testosterone changes into the person who is assigned female at birth (AFAB) hormone oestrogen and due to an increased amount of oestrogen, they have less chance of sperm production.

AFAB tend to have a higher risk of reproductive health diseases than AMAB and cause physical, economic and mental comorbidities. Increased care is necessary to treat infertility by an integrative approach, like treatments at a molecular level.10

What prolonged effects are seen in childhood obesity?

Obesity in children elevates the chance of many health conditions, like

  • Hypertension
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Sleep apnea

Similarly, obese children can lead to short and prolonged health effects like increased cholesterol and increased blood pressure, which can generate cardiac disease. Children with obesity tend to eat a large fraction of food that is rich in calories but deficient in nutrients, and they do so by sitting in front of a television, computer, mobile and other electronic gadgets that limit their physical activity. 

Childhood obesity can be managed at an early stage to change into further complications like signs of atherosclerosis. This can be limited by many approaches like:11

  • Management of obesity
  • Modification of lifestyle
  • Pharmacological medication

Which strategies are used for prevention and management?

Obesity can be prevented and managed by adopting the following strategies

  • Lifestyle mediation
  • Surgical choice
  • Public health strategy

Lifestyle interventions are important in weight loss. Obesity can be terminated by changing physical activity and dealing with eating order. The primary goal should be to have adequate calories and healthy food to overcome this weight gain.12

Bariatric surgery was considered safe and had outstanding outcomes for obese patients, and due to an increase in obesity, this surgical procedure number is also increased.13

Public health strategies focus on activities designed to make walking and bike tracks. Public health officials have a vital role in preventing obesity by coordinating with healthcare providers and reducing disease burden and barriers to acquiring prevention and treatment. 


  • Obesity is a universal health priority, and it is individualised by increasing body fat collection.
  • Heart disease, hypertension and stroke is considerably linked to obesity.
  • Obese patients with metabolic diseases like diabetes and NAFLD are more vulnerable to infections. 
  • Patients who are obese are facing breathing problems and have respiratory diseases such as asthma and sleep obstruction.
  • Obese individuals with musculoskeletal disorders involving knee pain and back pain face flexibility issues.
  • Patients with cancer, including breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancer, must lose their weight to live a healthy life.
  • Mental health illnesses of anxiety and depression with obesity create loneliness, less talkative and low self-assurance.
  • Individuals with obesity and reproductive health problems like infertility and sexually transmitted diseases are concerned with fertility and social issues.
  • Obesity during childhood can cause endless health problems in maturity.
  • Precautionary steps and management approaches involve surgical procedures, lifestyle modifications and public health plans.


  1. Lin, Xihua, and Hong Li. “Obesity: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Therapeutics.” Frontiers in endocrinology vol. 12 706978. 6 Sep. 2021, doi:10.3389/fendo.2021.706978
  2. Perone, F.; Pingitore, A.; Conte, E.; Halasz, G.; Ambrosetti, M.; Peruzzi, M.; Cavarretta, E. Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk: Systematic Intervention Is the Key for Prevention. Healthcare 2023, 11, 902. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11060902
  3. Yang, M.; Liu, S.; Zhang, C. The Related Metabolic Diseases and Treatments of Obesity. Healthcare 2022, 10, 1616. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10091616
  4. Fernandez, Cristina, and Ari Manuel. “Obesity, Respiratory Disease and Pulmonary Infections.” Annals of Research Hospitals, vol. 1, no. 5, Aug. 2017. arh.amegroups.org, https://doi.org/10.21037/arh.2017.08.06.
  5. Mafort, T.T., Rufino, R., Costa, C.H. et al. Obesity: systemic and pulmonary complications, biochemical abnormalities, and impairment of lung function. Multidiscip Respir Med 11, 28 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40248-016-0066-z
  6. Rosa S, Martins D, Martins M, et al. (February 17, 2021) Body Mass Index and Musculoskeletal Pain: A Cross-Sectional Study. Cureus 13(2): e13400. doi:10.7759/cureus.13400
  7. Pati, S.; Irfan, W.; Jameel, A.; Ahmed, S.; Shahid, R.K. Obesity and Cancer: A Current Overview of Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Outcomes, and Management. Cancers 2023, 15, 485. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers15020485
  8. Avgerinos, Konstantinos I., et al. “Obesity and Cancer Risk: Emerging Biological Mechanisms and Perspectives.” Metabolism, vol. 92, Mar. 2019, pp. 121–35. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2018.11.001.
  9. Kokka, I.; Mourikis, I.; Bacopoulou, F. Psychiatric Disorders and Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence—A Systematic Review of Cross-Sectional Studies. Children 2023, 10, 285. https://doi.org/10.3390/children10020285
  10. Gautam, Divya, et al. “The Challenges of Obesity for Fertility: A FIGO Literature Review.” International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, vol. 160, no. S1, Jan. 2023, pp. 50–55. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1002/ijgo.14538.
  11. Herouvi, D.; Paltoglou, G.; Soldatou, A.; Kalpia, C.; Karanasios, S.; Karavanaki, K. Lifestyle and Pharmacological Interventions and Treatment Indications for the Management of Obesity in Children and Adolescents. Children 2023, 10, 1230. https://doi.org/10.3390/children10071230
  12. Chopra, Sakshi et al. “Lifestyle-related advice in the management of obesity: A step-wise approach.” Journal of education and health promotion vol. 9 239. 28 Sep. 2020, doi:10.4103/jehp.jehp_216_20
  13. Alan Askari, Periyathambi Jambulingam, Roy Gurprashad, Omer Al-Taan, Tanveer Adil, Aruna Munasinghe, Vigyan Jain, Farhan Rashid, Douglas Whitelaw Clinical Medicine Jul 2023, 23 (4) 330-336; DOI: 10.7861/clinmed.2023-0189
  14. Tiwari, Aditi, and Palanikumar Balasundaram. “Public Health Considerations Regarding Obesity.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 2023. PubMed, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK572122/.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Qayyum Mumtaz

Master in healthcare management, Public Health, Riphah International University

Qayyum Mumtaz is an experienced healthcare professional with a firm background in medical writing, pharmacy, public health and pharmacovigilance. He has earned his MSc in Healthcare Management specialisation in Public Health (MS-HCM). Prior to that he has completed Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm-D) with a major in Pharmacy. He is honoured for his expertise related to patient safety, healthcare programs and pharmaceuticals in community care. He has long standing experience as a registered pharmacist (RPh) and is ambitious to contribute as a medical article writer. He also served as a pharmacovigilance focal person.

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