The medical hazards of obesity are discussed. Risks include insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, hypertriglyceridemia, decreased levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and increased levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Obesity is also associated with gallbladder disease and some forms of cancer as well as sleep apnea, chronic hypoxia and hypercapnia, and degenerative joint disease. Obesity is an independent risk factor for death from coronary heart disease. A central distribution of body fat enhances the risk for most of these conditions.