Obesity is today one of the leading causes of death in the world. It has repercussions on physical health. Obese people are more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even certain types of cancer.
Obesity is a multifactorial disease that has serious consequences on a person’s physical health. Simultaneously, it poses significant challenges to their mental well-being, establishing a real vicious circle. The consequences of obesity extend beyond the physical realm and intricately impact mental health.
The Consequences of Obesity on Physical Health
Obesity is now one of the most important global public health problems: it is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide and a major risk factor in the development of other pathologies.
In 2004, it was estimated that the increase in BMI (the Body Mass Index, which makes it possible to characterize obesity according to the weight/height ratio) was alone responsible for 2.8 million deaths and up to 6.0 million if we combine the physical inactivity factor.
This figure exceeds the excess mortality linked to tobacco and therefore follows that of high blood pressure, the main risk factor for death in the world.
Thus, obesity is correlated with many health problems, including the well-documented health risks of obesity:
- Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to obesity since the risk of developing diabetes varies depending on body size. In a study presented at the European Cardiology Society Congress in 2020, researchers showed that people with the highest BMI (on average 34.5kg/m²) had an 11 times higher risk of diabetes than participants in the group with the lowest BMI.
- Obesity significantly affects the cardiovascular system, leading to a higher occurrence of heart failure, elevated blood pressure, and coronary heart disease.
- Sleep apnea, symptoms of shortness of breath, and asthma are all more common in obese people.
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (or fatty liver disease) is frequently associated with obesity, particularly because the influence of nutrition plays an important role in the development of this pathology.
- Many cancers are more common in obese people: cancers of the colon, breast (after menopause), endometrial (the lining of the uterus), kidney, and esophagus. Certain research findings have additionally indicated connections between obesity and the occurrence of cancers affecting the gallbladder, ovaries, and pancreas.
The Consequences of Obesity on Mental Health
The psychosocial and psychiatric consequences of obesity are also increasingly recognized.
Numerous studies have shown that mental disorders are found more frequently in obese people than in the general population.
It has also recently been discovered that obesity is often correlated with psychological and mental disorders, some of which can be both causes and consequences.
Obese people are more prone to depression, and this disease influences the way they eat: we then favor junk food over healthy food prepared at home, and the physical and moral fatigue induced by depression contributes to reducing the level of activity. At the same time, the poor self-image frequently associated with obesity leads to social stigma, a factor of depression.
Anxiety disorders, bipolar and cognitive disorders, attention deficit, and hyperactivity are also associated with obesity.
Binge eating disorder is an eating disorder present in a significant number of obese patients, both cause and consequence. It does not predispose to obesity, but it promotes its emergence.
These diseases “feed” on each other. Like obesity, they are often multifactorial, combining genetic and environmental factors, and the people who suffer from them are isolated from society, causing great psychological suffering.
Addiction & obesity: what are the links?
The simultaneous presence of addiction – to alcohol, to drugs – and obesity is not entirely clear and requires further research. According to certain studies, stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines rarely coexist with obesity, unlike other substances such as alcohol, which are more likely to cause dependence or even addiction in obese people.
While it is difficult to determine whether obesity leads to drug addiction or vice versa, there is nevertheless a complex relationship between the two in terms of genetics, brain function, impact on quality of life, health, social stigma, discrimination, etc.
Overall Patient Care is Essential
While we understand the consequences of obesity on physical health, the connection between mental disorders and the condition is less evident but equally significant. Therefore, it’s important to assess obese individuals for psychiatric disorders.
This is why simultaneous treatment of obesity and psychiatric disorders is essential and helps to improve quality of life and the chances of weight loss.
The weight loss program at Desert Inn Medical Clinic provides the right treatment and guidance for your journey to a healthier you.
Embark on your path to wellness with Desert Inn Medical Clinic’s expert support – because your journey to a healthier lifestyle begins with personalized care and proven results.