El sobrepeso en adultos se define como un índice de masa corporal (IMC) superior o igual a 25. La obesidad en adultos se define como un IMC superior o igual a 30. En los niños, tener sobrepeso u obesidad se basa en estar por encima de los rangos normales de las curvas de crecimiento. El sobrepeso o la obesidad ocurren cuando la cantidad de calorías que se consumen es coherentemente mayor que la cantidad de calorías que se utilizan en las actividades y las funciones corporales básicas.

Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), hay más de 1.400 millones de adultos con sobrepeso y alrededor de 500 millones de adultos obesos en todo el mundo, y se espera que estas cifras aumenten. En los EE. UU., se calcula que un 70% de los adultos tienen sobrepeso o son obesos. Los niños y adolescentes estadounidenses también se ven afectados. En los EE. UU., aproximadamente un 17% de los niños y los adolescentes de 2 a 19 años son obesos.

Complicaciones de la obesidad

Ser obeso puede aumentar el riesgo de muerte precoz y reducir la expectativa de vida.

Las complicaciones de la obesidad no tratada incluyen lo siguiente:


Complications of obesity. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated February 25, 2014. Accessed February 26, 2014.

Data, Maps, and Trends. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at Updated January 24, 2014. Accessed February 26, 2014.

Obesity and overweight. World Health Organization website. Available at: Updated March 2013. Accessed February 26, 2014.

Obesity in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated January 22, 2014. Accessed February 26, 2014.

Obesity in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated November 8, 2013. Accessed February 26, 2014.

Snow V, Barry P, et al: Pharmacologic and Surgical Management of Obesity in Primary Care: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:525-31.

Ogden CL, Carroll MD, et al. Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999-2010. JAMA. 2012;307(5):483-490.

9/30/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Samuels-Kalow ME, Funai EF, Buhimschi C, et al. Prepregnancy body mass index, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, and long-term maternal mortality. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007;197:490.e1-6. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

12/2/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Pischon T, Boeing H, Hoffmann K, et al. General and abdominal adiposity and risk of death in Europe. N Engl J Med. 2008;359:2105-2120.

2/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Subak L, Wing R, Smith West D, et al. Weight loss to treat urinary incontinence in overweight and obese women. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:481-490.

4/16/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Neovius M, Sundström J, Rasmussen F. Combined effects of overweight and smoking in late adolescence on subsequent mortality: nationwide cohort study. BMJ. 2009 Feb 24;338:b496.

10/16/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Krul M, van der Wouden JC, Schellevis FG, van Suijlekom-Smit LW, Koes BW. Musculoskeletal problems in overweight and obese children. Ann Fam Med. 2009;7:352-356.

1/15/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Shiri R, Karppinen J, Leino-Arjas P, Solovieva S, Viikari-Juntura E. The association between obesity and low back pain: a meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol. 2010;171(2):135-54.

1/29/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Kuk JL, Ardern CI. Influence of age on the association between various measures of obesity and all-cause mortality. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Sep 15.

10/1/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Zaman A. Diabetes and obesity greatly contribute to hepatocellular carcinoma. NEJM Journal Watch. Available at: Published September 11, 2013. Accessed October 1, 2013.

5/27/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Molyneaux E, Poston L, et al. Obesity and mental disorders during pregnancy and postpartum: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(4):857-867.

10/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Bhaskaran K, Douglas I, et al. Body-mass index and risk of 22 specific cancers: a population-based cohort study of 5.24 million UK adults. Lancet. 2014;384(9945):755-765.

Ultima revisión March 2015 por Kim A. Carmichael, MD, FACP Last Updated: 3/15/2015