Obesity and its harmful side effects

As most of us know, obesity is linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. But that’s not all. Studies have found that excess weight can be linked to many other harmful health issues, as well.

Here are the four leading health issues that can develop as a result of obesity and how they can affect your health.


According to recent studies, one of the damaging side effects of obesity is the increased risk of migraines by 81 percent. These severe migraines can be directly triggered by excess body fat and/or diet, which is why it is important to monitor what you eat and how much.

Sleeping Disorders

Nearly 70 percent of people with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight or obese, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes the “sleeper” to stop breathing for a brief moment, leading to an increased risk of heart failure, heart attack or stroke.

Obesity can also cause severe snoring, which could be associated with coronary artery disease (CAD).


Studies also show a 55 percent higher risk of depression among obese people. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a “serious medical illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health [which] goes well beyond temporarily feeling sad.”

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss if interest in hobbies/activities
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Continuous sad, anxious feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts


Lastly, obesity is linked to several forms of cancer. Medical studies show that 41 percent of uterine cancers may be related to obesity and that 10 percent of all gallbladder, kidney, liver and colon cancers can be traced to excess weight.

These are just some of the surprising statistics about obesity, but it can be prevented and treated with a healthier diet, exercise routine and lifestyle.

Learn more about surgical weight loss options and nutrition counseling.

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This content has been written or reviewed by a member of the Baylor Scott & White Health medical staff.

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Obesity and its harmful side effects