Health Advice



Obesity before age 50 sets you up for multiple health challenges

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Hard to imagine: Eminem is turning 50 this year. So are Tracee Ellis Ross and Jennifer Garner. As much of a turning point as that is for those stars, for folks who have obesity before age 50, growing older is a much tougher challenge.

A study in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology reveals that if you're severely overweight before age 50, you have five times the risk of developing an additional, life-threatening condition in the next 12 years, compared to a healthy weight person! In addition, the researchers wanted to see how early obesity was related to developing what they call multimorbidity -- having four or more serious health conditions in addition to obesity. They found that by the time the younger obese participants were 75 years old, 53.3% of them had multiple health hazards -- more than six-fold higher than folks who were a healthy weight. Only 8.3% of folks who were a healthy weight had multiple health hazards.

Treatment for obesity may require lifestyle changes, support/therapy and medical intervention using medications and/or surgery. If you're 50 or younger and have obesity, to reduce your risk for life-shortening complications, talk to your doctor about:

-- Changing your diet, exercise and sleep management techniques. Get a referral to a nutritionist and have a checkup to evaluate your health and determine appropriate physical activity.

-- Using medication that may help with weight loss.

Together, set a realistic goal for the first six months of your new routine. At six months, if you're not seeing results, discuss surgical alternatives. There are solutions.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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