COVID-19 Service Update: We are currently dispatching treatments as normal

Health Problems Related to Obesity

Reviewed by
Date published
22/09/2021
Date last updated
21/09/2021
Length of read
6 Minutes

While many of us may know that being overweight can lead to a number of different ailments, few are aware of which problems in particular are associated with obesity. Here are some of the health problems related to the condition.

What Is Obesity?

Obese is the term used to describe someone who has a lot of excess body fat and is very overweight. A common problem in the UK, obesity is said to affect one in every four adults in the country, and one in every five children aged 10-11. While weight gain may appear to some people as a manageable medical condition, the health issue is in fact extremely complex and is a result of a combination of different factors depending on the individual. These factors can include:

  • Genetics
  • Medication use
  • Dietary patterns
  • Physical activity levels.

Many doctors and healthcare professionals use the BMI system to determine how healthy a person’s weight is, which stands for Body Mass Index. An individual’s BMI can be calculated to work out whether or not their weight is healthy, and the value is derived from both their body mass and their height combined.

However, BMI is not always an accurate method of diagnosing obesity – for example, people with muscular body types could have high BMI results, although they don’t possess a lot of fat and are of a healthy weight. As a general guide for adults, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 will equate to them being a healthy weight, 25-29.9 means they are overweight, 30-39.9 results in them being obese, and a score of 40 or above equates to them being severely obese.

Many practitioners will also calculate excess fat by measuring a person’s waist size to further determine whether or not they are obese. In general, obesity-related health problems are more likely to occur for men with a waist size of 94cm or more, and for women with a waist size of 80cm or more.

The Causes of Weight Gain

There are many different factors that can either cause or contribute to weight gain and obesity, one of which being an underlying health problem such as an underactive thyroid gland. However, for the majority of people, obesity is caused by consuming more calories than are burnt off – resulting in the body storing fat. Foods that are particularly fatty or high in sugar generally contain more calories and are therefore harder to burn off through excess energy.

Research has shown that obesity is becoming an increasing problem worldwide in the modern age due to many people doing less physical activity and exercise than before – this could be due to people sitting down for longer periods of time due to working at desks and more people travelling by car instead of on foot for convenience. Though the causes of weight gain may be different depending on an individual’s lifestyle, the health problems related to obesity are generally the same for all that have the health condition.

Health Problems Related To Obesity

Weight gain affects your health in a number of ways. There are a shocking number of health problems related to obesity, many of which may lead to other serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, too. Being obese can increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and coronary heart diseases, while also potentially leading to a stroke.

Other health problems related to the condition include developing asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gallstones, sleep apnoea, liver disease, kidney disease, reduced fertility, osteoarthritis and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease – a condition in which stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and into the gullet. Overweight women may also have an increased risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes.

It’s important to remember that obesity doesn’t just affect long-term health problems but can also result in the addition of day-to-day problems too, such as joint and back pain, difficulty partaking in physical activities, increased sweating, snoring and breathlessness. Studies have also shown a link between obesity and psychological health problems as well, such as depression and issues with self-esteem.

How To Lose Weight

Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can treat obesity, including simple lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy and well-balanced calorie-controlled diet is a great way to start, combined with regular exercise. A GP or weight loss management healthcare professional will be able to recommend the best diet to suit the individual and will ensure that weight is being lost at a healthy and sustainable rate.

Many also find local weight loss groups to be helpful, as participating in the challenge as part of a team can boost both morale and results. Depending on the individual, weight loss tablets may also be a suitable option, as can taking up physical activities such as swimming, walking or jogging for up to 2.5-5 hours each week.