Overweight and Obesity

Overweight and obesity is a situation in which a person’s weight is considered higher than the normal weight adjusted for height. In the United States, more than 2 in 3 adults fall in the overweight or obesity category. BMI is a common tool utilized to measure the overweight and obesity in children and adults. According to the NHANES survey conducted between 2013-2014 (NIDDK, 2017), obesity and overweight in the United States is a serious health issue as the majority of the population are suffering, and the trend continues to rise. The overweight or obesity category are the majority at 70.2 percent which implies that 2 in every three adults is obese or overweight in the U.S. Out of this number, 73.7 percent of the obese or overweight population are men while 66.9 percent in this category are women. The problem of obesity or overweight extends to the youth population in the U.S who are suffering greatly.

According to the NHANDES data revealed through a survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), obesity among the children and adolescents aged between 2 to 19 years is at 17.2 percent while the overweight population is 6 percent (NIDDK, 2017). It implies that 1 in 6 of the population are considered to have obesity while the segment of this population with overweight problems is 1 in every 17 children and adolescents. In the U.S, the trends in obesity and overweight have increased. According to NIDDK (2017), obesity among men and women increased significantly between 1980-2000. Furthermore, the recent times between 2005-2014 has seen the prevalence of obesity and overweight increase significantly among women (NIDDK, 2017). However, there are no significant changes in the prevalence of obesity and overweight among the men.

Obesity contributes significantly to the risk for surgical site infection, longer operation time and more surgical blood loss which impairs surgery. According to Tjeertes et al. (2015), incidences of surgical site infection is directly proportional to the BMI. Obesity affects the healing of the surgical wounds because of the excess subcutaneous fat tissues that are predisposed on the patient’s body. Healing of the surgical wounds is impaired due to the oxygen tension and low regional perfusion. Furthermore, the operation time for surgery increases due to obesity and overweight contributing significantly to the postoperative wound infections. Also, obesity brings too much tension on the surgical incision, increases elevated blood glucose levels and affects immunity leading to impaired wound healing. Surprisingly, being obese leads to the obesity paradox. In this situation, a patient who is obese or overweight and is due for surgery may have long-term survival or improved 30 days of the perioperative care.

Survival rates among obese and overweight patients are low. According to Ri, Aikou & Seto (2018), there is a negative influence of obesity on the short-term survival rates. Based on large-scale reports, obesity increases postoperative complication rates in gastric cancer surgery. The high risks of complications such as intra-abdominal abscess, post-operative pneumonia, leakage and incision infection develop as a result of obesity. With regards to laparoscopic surgery, operative time for surgery is prolonged by obesity without the influence on survival or complication rates. Despite the higher risk of postoperative complications, patients with a higher BMI exhibit superior survival rates compared with normal BMI patients.


NIDDK. (2017). Overweight & Obesity Statistics | NIDDK. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity

Ri, M., Aikou, S., & Seto, Y. (2018). Obesity as a surgical risk factor. Annals of gastroenterological surgery, 2(1), 13-21. Tjeertes, E. E., Hoeks, S. S., Beks, S. S., Valentijn, T. T., Hoofwijk, A. A., & Stolker, R. J. R. (2015).

Obesity–a risk factor for postoperative complications in general surgery?. BMC anesthesiology, 15(1), 112.

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Overweight and Obesity. (2019, Aug 13). Retrieved June 23, 2021 , from

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