Risks and Severity

Obesity is associated with numerous chronic conditions diseases. A healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet and the regular practice of a physical activity, help to prevent weight gain and the many related complications.

Health problems linked to obesity

Obesity is associated with several chronic diseases liable in the long term to lead to disability and/or premature mortality:

  • type-2 diabetes (profuse excessive urinesation, thirst, hunger, fatigue)
  • cardiovascular disorders (high blood pressure, excessive cholesterol, risk of stroke, heart attack, infarction)
  • venous disorders of the lower limbs (poor blood circulation in the legs)
  • respiratory difficulties (sleep apnoea, breathlessness)
  • joint problems (knees, lower back, arthritis)
  • hepatic problems (liver diseases)
  • hormonal disorders
  • risk of certain cancers (breast, colon).

Obesity is also responsible for troubles in daily life, a feeling of exclusion, of rejection, often leading to solitude, particularly emotional.


Obesity is considered to be a mortality risk factor, particularly because of the complications associated with it (cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes etc.).

From a BMI of 25 upwards, the number of diseases and the risk of premature early death increases.

A loss of weight of 10% to 15% makes it possible to improve the health problems linked to obesity and overweight.

In its population surveys, Sciensano investigates the problem of obesity by analysing the practice of physical activities, the Body Mass Index (BMI) and the dietary habits of the population. 

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