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The Relationship Between Obesity and Chronic Diseases

Did you know that obesity has serious consequences on our health?

By definition, obesity corresponds to a weight above what is considered a healthy weight for a given height. It can also refer to the abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat.

Approximately 1 in 5 children and more than 1 in 3 adults suffer from obesity. Moreover, the prevalence has been steadily increasing over the past 5 decades.

However, the relevance of obesity lies not only in the fact that it has become an epidemic, but in the sphere of chronic diseases that are associated with this condition.

Obesity goes beyond weight, it is a risk factor as it triggers various pathophysiological and metabolic mechanisms in the body that produce a chronic state of inflammation and promote the onset of pathologies or accelerate underlying disease processes.

It is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, sleep apnea and depression. It also increases mortality related to these diseases.


The accumulation of an excessive amount of body fat can cause type 2 diabetes because it induces insulin resistance, alters lipids in the body, and causes dysfunction of the cells of the pancreas (where insulin is secreted). In addition, the risk of diabetes increases linearly with increasing weight.

Cardiovascular diseases

By causing lipid alteration, and type 2 diabetes, obesity can increase blood pressure and the risk of stroke. It also leads to cardiovascular mortality independently of other cardiovascular risk factors.

Sleep disorders

In obese people, fat deposits in the upper airway and increased abdominal circumference compressing the chest wall make breathing difficult during sleep, leading to obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, and interrupted sleep.

Also, the obstructive sleep apnea negatively affects multiple organs and systems and is related to cardiovascular disease.


Changes caused by obesity such as chronic inflammation and altered levels of insulin, insulin-like growth factor and sex hormones can increase the risk of at least 13 types of cancer including adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, breast, colon and rectum, uterus, gallbladder, kidneys, liver, ovaries, pancreas, thyroid, among others.

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