Health Risks of Morbid Obesity

In general, there are many health risks caused by morbid obesity. Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher; obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. Research has shown that as weight increases to reach the levels referred to as "overweight" and "obesity," the risks for following conditions also increases:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast and colon)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triplycerides)
  • Stroke
  • Liver and Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
  • Reproductive disorders (obese women have trouble having children and obese men have reduced sperm counts)
  • Blood clots in the legs and clots to the lungs
  • Varicose veins and swollen legs
  • Respiratory problems, including difficulty breathing with small amounts of exertion and walking
  • Fat accumulation in the liver and cirrhosis
  • Some forms of cancer, particularly cancer of the uterus, breast, prostate, colon and gallbladder