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Health Complications of Obesity

Health Complications of Obesity

We’ve all been there. You’re out enjoying lunch with friends and get distracted by the slender woman across the restaurant devouring a plate full of French fries and washing it down with soda. There you are with your plate full of lean meat and vegetables and water, and unfortunately, you’re holding onto a few extra pounds that you can’t seem to shed no matter how hard you try.

Or worse yet, you go on a diet with your husband, and you gain three pounds while he loses 20 pounds. If you are among the 42.4% of American adults who struggle with obesity these scenarios are all too familiar.

Life just doesn’t seem fair when it comes to the perennial battle against obesity. Why not just throw in the towel and accept that your weight is your weight and be done with it? Is all the effort really worth it? Absolutely! says our own Pompeyo C. Chavez, MD. In this blog, Dr. Chavez does a deep dive into healthy weight and the health complications of obesity.

Healthy weight explained

Let’s start this conversation by unpacking how healthy weight and unhealthy weight are determined and what causes obesity. At first blush, you may think it’s all about the numbers – things like body mass index or BMI and how much energy or calories you take in and how much energy your body uses.

Yes, these calculations matter. The National Institutes of Health says that a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal, and the math dictates that if you take in more calories than you burn, then your body naturally stores the unused portion as fat. But that isn’t necessarily the whole story.

Perhaps you take medication that causes weight gain. In addition to behavioral factors like food choices and living a sedentary lifestyle, things like your metabolism, hormones, and genetics can also play a role in how your body uses energy. When you factor in all these complexities our national obsession with dieting and fitness trends starts to make more sense. Yo-yo dieting and exercise programs seem to be the norm, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Obesity can lead to preventable, premature death

Our professional team at our practice knows that healthy weight loss is not easy, but it’s certainly worth it. In fact, for many overweight and obese people, learning to manage a healthy weight can literally save their lives by greatly lowering their risk for developing several chronic diseases that happen to be among the leading causes of premature, and perhaps more importantly, preventable death. Chief among them are Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects every system throughout your body. Remarkably, diabetes ranks as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States as well as the leading cause of blindness, lower-limb amputations, and kidney failure. 

Losing weight plays two key prevention roles – it not only lowers the risk for developing diabetes in the first place, but it also mitigates the risk for developing heart disease for those already diagnosed with diabetes. 

Heart disease 

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for women and men regardless of race and ethnicity. Leading risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol and triglycerides and high blood pressure are greatly impacted by your weight. Getting to a healthy weight and maintaining it can prevent heart disease. 

Certain kinds of cancer  

Similarly, some cancers like kidney cancer as well as cancers of the colon, esophagus, and the lining of the uterus are associated with obesity. Some clinical research also suggests that gallbladder, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers are linked to obesity.


Carrying around excess weight can lead to chronic and painful joint conditions like osteoarthritis, which commonly affects the hip, knee, or back. Losing weight before permanently damaging cartilage and joints is important.

Depression and quality of life issues

As if the numerous, serious physical implications of obesity weren’t enough, obesity may wreak havoc to your emotional wellbeing as well. Obesity can lead to self-esteem issues as well as depression. As the physical ramifications of obesity progress, some people may not be able to continue enjoying activities with friends and family, causing them to withdraw and isolate.

If you are obese or struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, contact Pompeyo C. Chavez, MD, to get started on a personalized, holistic weight-loss program. You don’t have to go it alone. We'll provide one-on-one support every step of the way. Book a consultation by using our online booking tool or calling us today at 512-262-4699. 

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