Excess Weight, Obesity, and Health

Losing weight may improve some weight-related health conditions

For many people who carry excess weight, losing 5% to 15% of their total weight can improve some weight-related health issues. 

List of obesity comorbidities
Heart disease

People living with excess weight or obesity are more likely to develop heart disease.

In addition, excess weight or obesity are associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Each of these conditions can raise the risk of developing heart disease.

Type 2 diabetes & prediabetes

Living with excess weight can increase the risk of prediabetes and ultimately type 2 diabetes, a long-lasting condition where the body has trouble controlling how much sugar is in the blood.

For people with excess weight and type 2 diabetes, losing at least 2.5% of body weight can help improve blood sugar levels.

For example, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means losing at least 6 pounds.

Prediabetes is a condition that often develops into type 2 diabetes. For people with excess weight and prediabetes, losing up to 10% of body weight can help lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

For example, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means losing up to 25 pounds.

Asthma (reactive airway disease)

Asthma is a respiratory condition where the airways of the lungs are constricted, leading to difficulty breathing normally. According to one analysis, people with excess weight or obesity are 50% more likely to develop asthma.

Losing 7%-8% of body weight may improve asthma symptoms.

For example, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means losing 18-20 pounds.

High blood pressure

People with excess weight or obesity are more likely to develop high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure is one factor in developing heart disease.

Losing 5%-15% or more of body weight may help lower blood pressure.

For example, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means losing 13-38 pounds.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

People with excess weight are at risk of developing OSA, a serious breathing problem. Depending on the seriousness, this could lead to an increase in certain heart problems.

Losing at least 10% of body weight can help significantly improve symptoms of OSA.

For example, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means losing 25 pounds.

High cholesterol

People living with excess weight or obesity are more likely to have levels of cholesterol and triglycerides that are not in a normal range. Their LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, may be too high. Their HDL, or "good" cholesterol, may be too low. Also, their levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, may be too high.

Losing 5% to more than 15% of body weight can help improve each of these levels.

For example, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means losing at least 13 pounds.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

NAFLD is a condition where excess fat is stored in the liver. People living with excess weight or obesity are more likely to have NAFLD.

Losing at least 10% of body weight can improve NAFLD.

For example, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means losing at least 25 pounds.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a condition where small cysts, or fluid-filled sacs, have formed in the ovaries. PCOS is approximately 2x as likely in women with excess weight.

Losing 5%-15% of body weight can help improve a number of symptoms associated with PCOS, such as menstrual irregularity.

For example, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means losing 13-38 pounds.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is a joint disease and the most common form of arthritis. OA can be caused by increased force on the joints, including the knees, and is more common in people living with obesity. In fact, they are 4x to 5x more likely to develop knee OA than someone not living with obesity.

Losing 5%-10% of body weight can decrease knee pain and improve knee function as well as walking distance and speed.

For example, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, that means losing 13-25 pounds.

13 pounds or more

For example, someone who weighs 250 pounds might notice an improvement in some weight-related health issues if they lose 13 pounds or more. Talk to your health care provider about what weight loss goals are right for you.

Obesity may increase the risk for severe illness from COVID-19. 

Learn why

Small victories go beyond losing weight. By sticking to a plan and setting new goals for the road ahead, weight loss could offer improvements in:

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Energy levels

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Moderate to vigorous activity

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Walking, climbing stairs, or kneeling

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Chores, such as carrying groceries

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Mood

What is obesity?

Obesity is a chronic, but treatable, disease associated with excess weight. For people living with obesity, there is more to weight management than just the pounds we can see.

People with a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 are usually considered to have obesity. Obesity can have a negative impact on your health. But there’s good news: weight loss may improve some weight-related conditions.

Knowing your BMI is a great first step when starting the conversation about weight management with a health care provider.

Learn more

How many people are affected by obesity?

100 million adults in the US are affected by obesity

Approximately 2 out of 5 adults in the United States are living with obesity and, for most people, it’s difficult to keep the weight off. In fact, people living with excess weight generally make 7 serious attempts to lose weight over time.

Knowing that there’s a science behind weight loss can help you feel comfortable considering and discussing treatment options for losing weight and maintaining it with a health care provider.

Know your treatment options and make a plan today

Partnering with a health care provider

Watch this short video from Dr. Robert Kushner to learn what to expect when partnering with a health care provider on weight management.

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If you’re prepared to have this conversation with a health care provider, remain positive…things are likely to go well.

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Transcript

If you are comfortable and trust your health care provider, tell him or her how you feel. Tell him or her that it is not as simple as eating less and moving more. That there are multiple determinants when it comes to weight control and that partnering with someone to get support is vital. I would tell you there’s zero tolerance, however, for any shame or prejudice that goes on during the encounter.

Most health care providers are sensitive but may not know how to bring up weight or be trained enough in weight management. If the health care provider is empathetic and concerned about your weight, that interaction should be positive. That partnering will lead to increased weight loss, long-term weight control, and an improved therapeutic encounter with your health care provider. The bottom line is, however, if you are uncomfortable with your health care provider, find someone else who you trust and is supportive.

And remember, good communication is a 2-way street, and if you’re prepared to have this conversation with your healthcare provider, remain positive… things are likely to go well.

TrueWeight® Report

Share your weight-loss history with a health care provider

Documenting weight history is an important first step when partnering with a health care provider to create a weight-management plan that fits your lifestyle.

Your free personalized TrueWeight® report includes:

  • Key life events
  • Current weight-loss efforts
  • Weight-related health conditions
  • Tips for talking to a health care provider
Get your report
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