Obesity increases risk of chronic disorders

29/01/2014 15:00

One in ten people in the Netherlands suffered from obesity in 2012. They are much more likely to develop diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, degenerative joint disease and cardiovascular disease than non-obese people. Anxiety, depressions and a poor mental health are also more common in severely overweight people.

Four in ten are overweight

In 2012, 30 percent in the population aged 4 years and older were moderately overweight. Another 10 percent had severe overweight (obesity). These proportions have gradually risen over the past decades.

Moderate and severe overweight in the population aged 4 years or older

Moderate and severe overweight in the population aged 4 years or older

Diabetes much more common in obese people

More than 13 percent of obese people aged 12 years or older report to suffer from diabetes type 2, i.e. nine times as many as in non-overweight people (1.5 percent). High blood pressure occurs approximately four times as often in obese people as in normal-weight people and degenerative joint disease and cardiovascular disease are three times as often diagnosed in obese people. These diseases are also more frequently found in moderately overweight people than in their non-overweight counterparts, but the gap is smaller.

Chronic diseases by weight category in the population aged 12 years or older, 2010/2012

Chronic diseases by weight category in the population aged 12 years or older, 2010/2012

Age partly accounts for the difference

Gender and especially age are also important factors. Older people are more often overweight and more often suffer from miscellaneous disorders. If age is taken into account, diabetes type 2 still occurs five and a half times as often in obese people as in people without overweight. Obese people three times as often suffer from high blood pressure and two times as often from degenerative joint disease and cardiovascular disease.

Obese people more often have poor mental health

The proportion of people who report to feel occasionally anxious or depressed is almost the same in moderately overweight people as in people without overweight, but is more frequently diagnosed in obese people. Obese people’s mental health status is in general also less good.

Anxiety, depressions and poor mental health by weight category in the population aged 12 years or older, 2010/2012

Anxiety, depressions and poor mental health by weight category in the population aged 12 years or older, 2010/2012

Jan-Willem Bruggink