Obesity constitutes a serious health problem. Inflammation, which has recently been shown to follow adipocyte death, is at the basis of a series of pathogenic complications of obesity. Here we demonstrate, through modelling using the finite element method, that the bigger the adipocyte, the more fragile it becomes to rupture when submitted to common physical forces. This indicates that adipocyte size is an important determinant of cell death. Interventions to prevent adipocyte hypertrophy may, therefore, help to reduce the risk associated with obesity.