Severe obesity is a medical condition that is currently classified by a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater. Experts know that people with obesity require the help of a medical professional to navigate their condition. Without support, success with weight loss is often likely to be short-lived.

As a young person, there’s often a misconception in the resilience of our health. Regardless of weight, and lifestyle factors such as diet or level of physical activity, young people tend to believe that any serious health concerns are years away. When in fact, effects of obesity are likely to set in before young people even enter high school.

“Never before have the points highlighted by this article been more relevant than the present time. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down businesses and nations, we have seen the greatest risk for infection and highest severity of disease among individuals with “pre-existing conditions”. 

As illustrated below, obesity sets the stage for this perfect storm by compromising whole body health. Unfortunately, age does not appear to be protective, as recently reported in The New York Times. Thankfully, even a loss of 5-10% of one’s body weight (about 15-25 lbs.) can lead to significant improvement in many of these conditions.” 

John D. Rutkoski, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Director of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery , Sisters of Charity Hospital

Why Obesity Puts Your Body at Risk

Anyone suffering from obesity is carrying more than just extra weight and the social stigmas that may come with it. They are at significantly higher risk for many other health problems.

Excess weight actually compromises the body by forcing organs to work harder than they should for any size or age. As with anything, wear and tear over time can eventually lead to malfunction. Some of these effects can be seen or felt. Sadly, the most dangerous consequences may not have symptoms and go undetected until it is too late.

Should Young Adults Worry About Obesity?

Obesity has a bit of a domino effect. Despite what people would like to believe, its effects don’t stop with a number on a scale.

Cardiovascular disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Being overweight or obese is one of the main risk factors for problems such as coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart failure.

Many people who are overweight also have high cholesterol, which can allow fat molecules to build up in the blood. These fats can attach to other masses and form blockages in a blood vessel, causing a heart attack.

Type 2 diabetes

Our country spends over one-hundred billion dollars every year taking care of diabetes, making it the most expensive disease. This is because living with diabetes not only requires patients to change their lifestyle, but also check their blood sugar frequently and take very costly medications.

There are a number of factors that put people at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Some, like genetics, may be out of anyone’s control. However, obesity is known to be the greatest contributor of all. If not managed properly, diabetes can go on to rob patients of their eyesight, kidneys, legs, and even life.

Infectious diseases

Medical research suggests that obesity makes people more vulnerable to certain types of infections. For example, there is data supporting the fact that obesity limits the effectiveness of a flu shot.

There are also documented barriers for patients with chronic conditions or infectious diseases to seek treatment. Patients may not have an established relationship with a doctor or avoid returning for fear of judgement or a negative experience in the past.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is defined by reduced breathing effectiveness while sleeping, sometimes to the extent that breathing periodically stops. Excess body weight can cause sleep apnea because it puts abnormal pressure on the upper respiratory system, affecting breathing.

The poor quality of sleep that results from sleep apnea not only disrupts one’s quality of life, but also puts them at risk for developing other medical conditions.

Learn How to Combat Obesity

It’s never too early to start making healthier choices. Create a plan to combat obesity that’s customize to your needs by discussing this with your doctor or a metabolic specialist. Visit us online at or call the number below.


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