Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity

People who have overweight or obesity*, compared to those with healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions. These include:1,2,3

Photo: Woman standing on a scale
  • All-causes of death (mortality).
  • High blood pressure (hypertension).
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (dyslipidemia).
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Coronary heart disease.
  • Stroke.
  • Gallbladder disease.
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint).
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems.
  • Many types of cancer.
  • Low quality of life.
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders4,5.
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning6.

*Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. See the BMI calculator for people 20 years and older and the BMI calculator for people ages 2 through 19.

Want to learn more?

Overweight and Obesity
Data, strategies, and initiatives—CDC.

Weight Loss for Good
Being overweight brings added risks for people with diabetes—American Diabetes Association.

Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, And Treatment of Overweight And Obesity in Adults [PDF-1.28MB]
Health problems associated with overweight and obesity—National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity
Causes, risk factors, screening, prevention and more—National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Adult Obesity Maps
Self-reported US adult obesity prevalence by race, ethnicity, and location.


1NHLBI. 2013. Managing Overweight and Obesity in Adults: Systematic Evidence Review from the Obesity Expert Panel. [PDF-5.89MB]

2Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. [PDF-1.25MB]

3Bhaskaran K, Douglas I, Forbes H, dos-Santos-Silva I, Leon DA, Smeeth L. Body-mass index and risk of 22 specific cancers: a population-based cohort study of 5•24 million UK adults. Lancet. 2014 Aug 30;384(9945):755-65.

4Kasen, Stephanie, et al. “Obesity and psychopathology in women: a three decade prospective study.” International Journal of Obesity 32.3 (2008): 558-566.

5Luppino, Floriana S., et al. “Overweight, obesity, and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. “Archives of General Psychiatry 67.3 (2010): 220-229.

6Roberts, Robert E., et al. “Prospective association between obesity and depression: evidence from the Alameda County Study.” International Journal of Obesity 27.4 (2003): 514-521.

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