Co-morbidities of obesity

Overweight and obesity have been linked to a number of conditions which can have profound impacts on the life of the individual. Many obese people have to deal with health issues, as well as social isolation, financial challenges and social prejudice on a daily basis. If the underlying obesity is not treated, the individual’s physical situation will worsen, possibly to the point of death.

In spite of the treatment options available, obesity is said to be the second leading cause of preventable death in the US, responsible for up to 400,000 deaths each year, depending on the estimates. The relative risk of mortality is directly linked to BMI for both men and women, as the figures below show.


Source: Freedman DM, Ron E, Ballard-Barbash R, Doody MM, Linet MS (May 2006). "Body mass index and all-cause mortality in a nationwide US cohort". Int J Obes (Lond) 30 (5): 822–9.


The list of co-morbidities, the serious nature of each, and their associated costs, support arguments for obesity representing the single most serious challenge to a financially constrained healthcare system:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Immune function
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Cancer

The above is drawn from the December 2010 MedMarket Diligence Report #S835, "Products, Technologies and Markets Worldwide for the Clinical Management of Obesity, 2011-2019."

Leave a Reply