Risks of Obesity
Effects of Obesity
The American Obesity Association reports that obese individuals have a 50-100% increased risk of death as compared to normal weight individuals, with 300,000 to 587,000 deaths each year. This substantial increase in health risks has made obesity the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Obesity is more than a cosmetic problem. Many serious medical conditions have been linked to obesity, including Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Obesity is also linked to higher rates of certain types of cancer. Men who are obese are more likely than non-obese men to develop cancer of the colon, rectum, or prostate. Women who are obese are more likely than non-obese women to develop cancer of the gallbladder, uterus, cervix, or ovaries. Esophageal cancer has also been associated with obesity.
Other diseases and health problems linked to obesity include:
For more information about diseases caused by Obesity, read our Obesity Diseases page.
Health care providers generally agree that the more obese a person is, the more likely he or she is to develop health problems.
Psychological and Social Effects
The emotional suffering may be one of the most painful parts of obesity. American society emphasizes physical appearance and often equates attractiveness with slimness, especially for women. Such messages make overweight people feel unattractive.
Many people think that individuals with obesity are gluttonous, lazy, or both. This is not true. As a result, people who are obese often face prejudice or discrimination in the job market, at school, and in social situations. Feelings of rejection, shame, or depression may occur.
Cost of Obesity
Research proves that people could live longer and healthier at an ideal body weight. The average American has gained around 8 pounds in the past 10 years. LSU researchers estimate that "the direct costs of obesity in the United States is now at 39.3 billion dollars a year. That is more than 5% of all medical costs."
Market Data Enterprises says, "Americans spend another $38 billion a year trying to lose weight."
Other researchers report that after a four and a half year study "the costs of long-term weight loss on one popular very-low-calorie diet program was $286.36 per pound"!! Long-term weight loss is not only expensive, but very hard to attain.
Obesity is not just a concern of a morbidly obese person. The problems affect society as a whole since obesity contributes to the incidence of chronic disease. According to the Surgeon General "Obesity, with its rank among the top ten diseases, may be America's number-one contributor to health care costs."