Obesity and infection

Lancet Infect Dis. 2006 Jul;6(7):438-46. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(06)70523-0.


Obesity increases morbidity and mortality through its multiple effects on nearly every human system. However, the various aspects of the association between obesity and infection have not been reviewed. Thus, we reviewed the relevant literature focusing on clinical aspects of this association. Obesity has a clear but not yet precisely defined effect on the immune response through a variety of immune mediators, which leads to susceptibility to infections. Data on the incidence and outcome of specific infections, especially community-acquired infections, in obese people are so far limited. The available data suggest that obese people are more likely than people of normal weight to develop infections of various types including postoperative infections and other nosocomial infections, as well to develop serious complications of common infections. Large prospective studies are required to further define the burden of infectious morbidity and mortality conferred by obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / complications*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / complications
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control