Common Health Problems

These health problems are the most common. While some diseases have a genetic link, most health conditions are associated with excess body fat. They include;

High blood pressure- Hypertension


Breast cancer

Colon cancer

Lung cancer

Prostate cancer

Testicular cancer

Skin cancer


Type 1 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes

Heart attack

Heart failure


Eating disorders


Health problems

Health Problems with a Genetic Link

Most chronic diseases in which nutrition plays a role are also influenced by genetics. Studies of families, including those with twins and adoptees, provide strong support for the effect of genetics in these disorders.

In fact, family history is considered to be one of the important risk factors in the development of many of these problems.

Here are several of genetic related health problems;

Cardiovascular disease: About one of every 500 people have a defective gene that greatly delay cholesterol removal from the bloodstream.

This genetic effect lead to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease at a young age, but medications and possibly surgery may be needed to address these problems.

Obesity: most obese people have at least one parent who is also obese. Findings from many human studies suggest that a variety of genes (60 or more) are involved in the regulation of body weight. Little is known, however, about the specific nature of these genes in humans or how the actual changes in body metabolism are produced.

Although not every person with a genetic tendency toward obesity develops this condition, he or she has a higher lifetime risk than individuals without a genetic predisposition to obesity.

Diabetes: both of the two common types, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, have a genetic link as revealed by family and twin studies. Type 2 diabetes is expressed once a person becomes obese but often not before.

Cancer:  few types of cancer (e.g., colon and breast cancer) have a strong genetic link, and genetics may play a role in others. However, genetics is not the only factor; environment also contributes to the risk profile.

Hypertension: some individuals are very sensitive to salt intake. When these salt sensitive people consume too much salt, their blood pressure climbs above the desirable range. Amongst salt sensitive people, most are of African origin. Thus this suggests a genetic component.

Osteoporosis: bone mass and in turn, bone strength, is similar to twins as well as in mothers and their daughters. The exact relative importance of genetic versus dietary factors is unknown, but a number of genes have been shown to contribute to a person’s overall risk of low bone mass.

See The Leading Health Problems in the United States

Health Problems Associated With Excess Body Fat

The followiing is a list of health condition that are related to excess body fat;

  • Surgical risk- Increased anesthesia needs and greater risk of wound infections
  • Pulmonary disease and sleep disorders- Excess weight over lungs and pharynx
  • Type 2 diabetes- Enlarged adipose cells, which poorly bind insulin and poorly respond to the message insulin sends to the cell
  • Hypertension- Increased miles of blood vessels found in the adipose tissue, increased blood volume, and increased resistance to blood flow
  • Cardiovascular disease- Increases in LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride values, low HDL-cholesterol, and decreased physical activity
  • Bone and joint disorders (including gout)- Excess pressure put on knee, ankle, and hip joints
  • Gallstones- Increased cholesterol content of bile
  • Skin disorders- Trapping of moisture and microbes in tissue folds
  • Various cancers (e.g., breast, colon, pancreas, gallbladder)-Estrogen production by adipose cells; animal studies suggest excess energy intake encourages tumor development
  • Shorter stature (in some forms of obesity)- Earlier onset of puberty
  • Pregnancy risks- More difficult delivery, increased number of birth defects, and increased needs for anesthesia
  • Reduced physical agility and increased risk of accidents and falls- Excess weight that impairs movement
  • Menstrual irregularities and infertility- Hormones produced by adipose cells, such as estrogen
  • Premature death- A variety of risk factors for disease, listed in this table

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