Complications of Obesity Medical Cheat Sheet

Obesity is a huge problem that can lead to a multitude of other diseases and complications.

A look at obesity:

The prevalence of obesity in the United States has increased markedly over the past two decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately onethird of American adults age 20 and older are either overweight or obese. The trend toward obesity has been steadily increasing. Children haven’t escaped the trend, with 17% of 2 to 5 year olds 19% of 6 to 11 year olds, and 18% of 12 to 19 year olds overweight.

Risk Factors of Obesity:

Excess weight substantially increases the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and other diseases, including:

  • Gynecologic abnormalities
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Stress incontinence.

The risk of death from all causes in obese people is 50% to 100% greater than in people of normal weight. In addition, the annual health care cost of obesity is estimated to exceed $140 billion per year.


You may notice that some people who are overweight eat only moderate amounts of food but still gain weight and that some average-weight people overeat but never gain weight. That’s because other factors can also influence fat accumulation in the body.


A family history of obesity increases a person’s chance of becoming obese by 25% to 30%. In addition, body fat distribution is influenced by genetics. Families also share diet and lifestyle habits that can contribute to obesity.


Environment also strongly influences obesity. This includes such lifestyle behaviors as eating habits, diet, and level of physical activity. Americans tend to eat high-fat foods and put taste and convenience ahead of nutrition. Only 22% of Americans achieve the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

Calorie conundrum:

Nutrition also plays an important role in weight gain. Although the type of food makes a difference, consuming too many calories in any form leads to weight gain. High-fat foods are known to be high in calories, but eating too much of low-fat foods can lead to overconsumption, too.

Eating under the influence:

Psychological factors can also influence eating habits. Many people eat in response to positive emotions, such as excitement, or to negative emotions, such as boredom, sadness, and anger.


Complications of obesity:

Obese patients are more susceptible to certain complications than nonobese patients. The most common complications involve the pulmonary, cardiovascular, GI, and musculoskeletal systems.

Obese patients typically have more complications that affect various body systems. Here are some of the more common complications along with their pathophysiology and related nursing interventions.

Causes of Obesity:

The basic cause of obesity is an energy imbalance that results when the number of calories taken in exceeds the number of calories used for energy. A recurring imbalance leads to weight gain over time. This imbalance most commonly results from overeating, inactivity, or both.

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