The risk of health problems associated with obesity is such an eye-opening list it is a wonder why it does not scare more people into working towards a healthy balance of good diet and exercise.

Instead, it appears the trend towards obesity is well upon us with and it is striking younger Americans as heavily (no pun intended) as it is striking older Americans. “There’s no doubt about it,” however, says a CBS News report from August 2016. “Americans are getting heavier and heavier.” The numbers in the report were described as something of a shock. “Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, the average American has put on 15 or more additional pounds without getting any taller.”

Even youngsters are affected. Citing a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, even 11-year-olds were gaining pounds – 13.5 of them over the two-decade length of the study.

By race and gender, there were differences with blacks, on average, gaining the most. The average black woman was 22 pounds heavier. The average place male was 18 pounds heavier.

With weight gain comes problems beyond struggles with self-image. Here is a laundry list of potential ailments that you could face by being overweight, most of them life-threatening.


Heart disease and stroke

Added weight makes your heart work harder but without the benefits of an exercise regime. With that in mind, if you weigh too much, it still pays to exercise, but getting back to a healthy weight is also critical. With that pump in your chest working hard, your circulation efficiency decreases – less oxygen and nutrients in your system getting to your muscles, organs and all the other body parts and functions that require them.


Type I diabetes is the type that you inherit if you are born with the disease. Type II diabetes – just as dangerous as the first time – is the type you earn by being heavy.Diabetes is a complicated disaster, wrecking havoc on your body if left untreated. The necessary strategy is to control your blood sugar, which can spike to dangerously high levels when you have diabetes. This affects your circulatory system dramatically, creating hardened, inflexible blood vessels, that do not do their job properly. What follows, after the blood vessels harden, is the possibility of blindness, feet ulcers leading to amputation, poor circulation in hands, blood clots and other associated issues.

There are effective treatments that help prevent damage to blood vessels, such as special inserts in your shoes, women and men’s compression socks, and daily exercise. It is also critical to maintain a carbohydrate-appropriate diet.

The basic problem behind the diabetes is generally a pancreas that is not producing enough insulin that helps break down sugars in the blood. With Type I diabetes, not enough insulin – or none at all – is produced. In Type II diabetes – and here you can see where obesity is the issue – then the body is too heavy to make use of the insulin that the body produces. You become diabetic by default and must supplement your insulin supply and maintain a strict regiment of diet and exercise to keep your blood sugars at healthy levels.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure is a killer, as well. High blood pressure leads to heart attacks and stroke. There are medications that can help, as well as losing weight through diet and exercise.


According to American Association for Cancer Research, more than half of all cancers around the globe are the result of preventable causes, such as smoking, staying out of the sun and obesity.

Researchers estimate as much as 20 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States are directly related to obesity, including pancreatic cancer, which is one of the deadliest forms of the disease.

Exactly what the connection is to obesity and cancers is not well understood, but statistics point to the correlation between the two. “Being overweight or obese as an adult increases a person’s risk for 14 different types of cancer,” the group says on its website.

Sleep apnea and asthma

Obesity is one quick way to get a poor night’s rest, as it affects respiration. Especially when related to increased risk of asthma and sleep apnea, which is a condition in which a person stops breathing for a short period while sleeping.

Back problems

Certainly, obesity is a sure way of increasing your risk for back problems for the simple reason that you are putting that much more stress on your spine.

Gallstones and gallbladder disease

Gallstones are related to high levels of cholesterol in bile, which is produced in the liver. Cholesterol levels are affected by many years of unhealthy diet, which is why people over 40 and people with weight problems are at higher risk than others to develop gallstones or gallbladder disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes that gallstones can be as big as a grain of sand to as big as a golf ball.


Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects a person’s joints. The ailment is most often associated with pain in the joints of the hand, but osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body including feet, hands, arms, legs, hips, and neck.


Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid in your system, which gathers and turns into crystals around your joints. Added weight makes it harder for your kidneys to remove uric acid from your body, which is why obesity increases the risk for this painful, chronic condition.