What are the health consequences of excess weight?
The latest WHO projections show that at least one in three adults worldwide is overweight and nearly one in 10 is obese. In addition, there are over 40 million children under the age of five who are overweight.
Being overweight and obese can have serious health consequences. The excess fat can in particular cause cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis, and certain cancers (endometrial, breast and colon). These diseases cause premature death and significant disability.
OBESITY IS INDEED A DISEASE
The controversy over whether or not obesity is a disease goes back to about a century ago. However, after observing a devastating pandemic, it’s necessary to take drastic measures to stop it. Most experts (in 2019) claim obesity to be a disease that is:
Chronic: it evolves over the long term and requires lifelong treatment.
Complex: it involves both metabolic, somatic and psycho-behavioral, psychiatric and social attacks as well as genetic problems.
Progressive: it often evolves stealthily into different pathologies that can appear progressively in varying degrees and extent depending on the patients, their genetic susceptibility, their environment and their behavior.
Recurrent: regardless of the treatment used to treat obesity, weight gain is seen soon after the lost weight stabilizes, whether following conservative treatment or bariatric surgery. Long-term stabilization of weight loss is rare and requires lifelong monitoring. Weight gain is not always dependent on the extent of the weight lost (yo-yo risk).
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF THE ASSERTION THAT OBESITY IS A DISEASE
- Its symptoms and pathognomonic clinical signs are recognized by experts.
- It causes many severe comorbidities that require priority medical treatment.
- Even in the absence of signs, symptoms, or laboratory pathology, patients with obesity are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than the general population of normal weight.
The patient with obesity will usually suffer from stigma; this leads to exacerbating obesity and a vicious cycle.
Its origin is multigenic (hereditary transmission)