Obesity and women's health: An evidence-based review

Teresa Kulie, Andrew Slattengren, Jackie Redmer, Helen Counts, Anne Eglash, Sarina Schrager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Obesity negatively impacts the health of women in many ways. Being overweight or obese increases the relative risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease in women. Women who are obese have a higher risk of low back pain and knee osteoarthritis. Obesity negatively affects both contraception and fertility as well. Maternal obesity is linked with higher rates of cesarean section as well as higher rates of highrisk obstetrical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Pregnancy outcomes are negatively affected by maternal obesity (increased risk of neonatal mortality and malformations). Maternal obesity is associated with a decreased intention to breastfeed, decreased initiation of breastfeeding, and decreased duration of breastfeeding. There seems to be an association between obesity and depression in women, though cultural factors may influence this association. Obese women are at higher risk for multiple cancers, including endometrial cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, and perhaps ovarian cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Evidence-based
  • Obesity
  • Women's health


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