The obesity epidemic: pathophysiology and consequences of obesity

Obes Res. 2002 Dec;10 Suppl 2:97S-104S. doi: 10.1038/oby.2002.202.


Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States: more than 20% of adults are clinically obese as defined by a body mass index of 30 kg/m(2) or higher, and an additional 30% are overweight. Environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors have been shown to contribute to the development of obesity. Elevated body mass index, particularly caused by abdominal or upper-body obesity, has been associated with a number of diseases and metabolic abnormalities, many of which have high morbidity and mortality. These include hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease, and certain malignancies. This underscores the importance of identifying people at risk for obesity and its related disease states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Body Composition
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / etiology
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • United States
  • Weight Gain