Obesity and obesity: secondary diseases depend on gender

Obesity and obesity: secondary diseases depend on gender

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Relationships between obesity and common causes of death in women and men

It has long been known that being overweight increases the risk of numerous illnesses. However, a study has now shown that there are significant gender differences. Obesity causes a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and COPD in women and increases the risk of chronic kidney disease in men.

People who carry an unhealthy amount of weight with them don't just have to worry about heart disease and diabetes, according to a report published in the journal "EurekAlert!" Obesity is involved in two thirds of the world's leading causes of death from non-communicable diseases, and the risk of certain diseases is different for men and women. This shows a study by researchers led by Cecilia Lindgren from the University of Oxford. The results were published in the specialist magazine "PLOS Genetics".

Obesity increases the risk of diabetes and COPD in women

The number of obese people is increasing worldwide. Scientists suspect that excessive weight in addition to heart disease and type 2 diabetes could also lead to or aggravate other causes of death. In order to identify additional causes of death that were aggravated by obesity, the researchers carried out an analysis in which the cause-effect relationships were examined. Genetic data from 228,466 women and 195,041 men from the UK Biobank were used for this.

Their analysis found obesity contributed to a number of health problems, including coronary artery disease, type 1 and 2 diabetes, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver, chronic liver disease, and kidney failure.

While obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes in both women and men, this risk was higher in women than in men, while in men there was a higher risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic kidney disease.

Different prevention measures for men and women

"This study shows how obesity can be harmful to human health and that women and men can suffer from various diseases as a result," said study author Jenny Censin. Michael Holmes, who oversaw the work with Cecilia Lindgren, said the results underscore the need for public health measures to curb the high number of obesity cases.

Overall, the study finds that obesity causes or contributes to most of the world's leading causes of non-infectious disease. However, the effects of obesity differ between men and women. The results have potential implications for the design of public health strategies and suggest that different preventive measures for men and women may be justified. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • EurekAlert !: Obesity exacerbates many causes of death, but risks are different for men and women, (accessed: 28.10.2019), EurekAlert!
  • PLOS Genetics: Causal relationships between obesity and the leading causes of death in women and men, (accessed: October 28, 2019), PLOS Genetics

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