So what's all the fuss about fat anyway? To put it simply, obesity is a leading cause of preventable illness and death in North America.

Some of the conditions associated with obesity are:

  • breathing disorders (e.g., sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • certain types of cancers (e.g., prostate and bowel cancer in men, breast and uterine cancer in women)
  • coronary artery (heart) disease
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • gall bladder or liver disease
  • gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD)
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • joint disease (e.g., osteoarthritis)
  • stroke

If you are diagnosed with many of these conditions, being obese can also worsen your prognosis and increase your risk of complications. And the more obese you are, the more likely you are to have medical problems related to obesity.

Aside from the medical complications, obesity is also linked to psychosocial problems such as low self-esteem, discrimination, difficulty finding employment, and reduced quality of life.

But the good news is that losing even a small amount of weight can help to reduce your risk of many of these medical conditions. Talk to your physician or primary health care provider about what an appropriate weight is for you and what you can do to get there.