Consequences of Adult Overweight and Obesity

Overweight and obesity in adulthood is associated with many serious physiological, psychological, and social consequences, as listed below.  Given these health and social consequences, it should not be surprising that obesity has serious economic consequences as well.  The annual medical costs alone have been estimated as high as $190 billion (in 2005 dollars) – 21 percent of all medical spending (Cawley & Meyerhoefer, 2011).

Physiological Consequences of Adult Overweight and Obesity

  • Diabetes (Nguygen et al., 2008)
  • Heart disease (Guh et al., 2009)
  • Stroke (Guh et al., 2009; Strazzullo et al., 2010)
  • Dyslipidemia (e.g., high blood cholesterol and triglycerides) (Nguygen et al., 2008)
  • High blood pressure (Nguygen et al., 2008)
  • Metabolic syndrome (Nguygen et al., 2008)
  • Liver disease (Clark, 2006)
  • Gallbladder disease (Guh et al., 2009)
  • Kidney disease (Eknoyan, 2011)
  • Asthma (McHugh et al., 2009)
  • Sleep apnea (Punjabi, 2008)
  • Arthritis (Crowson, et al., 2013; Mokdad et al., 2003)
  • Chronic back pain (Guh et al., 2009)
  • Mobility limitations (Houston et al., 2009)
  • Some types of cancer (Guh et al., 2009)
  • Reproductive complications (e.g., irregular menses, infertility) (Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2008)
  • Pregnancy-related complications (e.g., birth defects, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia) (Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2008)
  • Poor health-related quality of life (Hassan et al., 2003; Jia & Lubetkin, 2010)
  • Increased all-cause mortality (Berrington de Gonzalez et al., 2010; Flegal et al., 2013)
  • Decreased life expectancy (Fontaine et al., 2003)
  • Increased risk of hospitalization (Han et al., 2009a)

Psychological and Social Consequences of Adult Overweight and Obesity

  • Depression (Luppino et al., 2010; Petry et al., 2008)
  • Anxiety (Petry et al., 2008; Simon et al., 2006)
  • Substance use disorders (Barry & Petry, 2009)
  • Social discrimination and stigmatization (Puhl et al., 2008; Puhl & Heuer, 2010)
  • Employer discrimination (e.g., hiring prejudice, lower wages) (Han et al., 2009b; Puhl & Brownell, 2001)
  • Work impairment (Rodbard et al., 2009)
  • Time away from work (Trogdon et al., 2008)
  • Disruption of work, family, and social life (Rodbard et al., 2009)