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Health Effects of Obesity

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An estimated 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese, a condition that raises the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions.1 To learn more about the health effects of obesity read below.

How is Obesity Defined?

Obesity is defined as weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height.5 Obesity is now considered a chronic condition and puts people at risk for other chronic conditions.2 According to the CDC, medical costs for people with obesity are $1,429 higher than those that are not obese.3

The Health Effects of Obesity4

Obesity has an affect on so many parts of the body. People who have obesity are at an increased risk for serious diseases and health conditions such as:

  1. Nervous system: Being overweight greatly increases the risk of stroke and can also affect your mental health.

  2. Respiratory system: Breathing can become increasingly more difficult when fat is stored around the neck, making the airway too small. As a result, sleep apnea occurs. This is a sleep disorder where breathing may stop for short periods of time.

  3. Digestive system: Obesity increases the risk of developing gallstones, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Additionally, fat can build up around the liver and cause damage, scar tissue and even liver failure.

  4. Cardiovascular and endocrine system: The heart must pump harder for people that have obesity. This can lead to high blood pressure, the leading cause of stroke. Furthermore, obesity can make the body’s cells resistant to insulin. This increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

  5. Skeletal and muscular systems: Obesity can cause deteriorating bone density and muscle mass. It can also put pressure on joints making them still and painful.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is used as a screening tool for obesity. BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A higher BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness.5 To calculate your BMI, visit: Adult BMI Calculator | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity | CDC

Obesity is subdivided into categories:5

  1. Class 1: BMI of 30 to < 35

  2. Class 2: BMI of 35 to <40

  3. Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher. This class is sometimes categorized as “severe” obesity.

How to Combat Obesity

  1. There are prescription medications for obesity. Make sure that you have at least a 30-day supply of your medications and are taking them as prescribed.6

  2. Eating a healthy diet can help support immune function. A healthy diet prevents and aids in managing other chronic conditions like diabetes.7

  3. Physical activity also supports immune function and helps with weight loss.7

  4. Getting enough sleep is crucial as insufficient sleep has been linked to other chronic conditions and obesity.7

  5. Coping with stress over time can lower BMI.7

Tria Health Can Help

For select groups, Tria Health offers a weight management service called Choose to Lose. If this structured weight loss program is included through your benefits plan, you can receive help from a combination of registered dietitians, health coaches and pharmacists, along the best-in-class nutrition tracker app ‘LoseIt!’ and a Bluetooth scale. This program is great at helping tackle the risks associated with obesity.

Tria Health is a no cost benefit available through select members’ health plans. Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities! Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure the intended outcomes from your medications are being received.


Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742



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