Obesity is a chronic disease that is widely prevalent, especially in developed countries, and is a major public health concern. There is now a greater awareness of the health risk posed by obesity, and the link between diabetes and high blood pressure is well known.

Obesity also affects the lipid profile (cholesterol) in the human body, and evidence is growing that obesity is a major risk factor for dyslipidemia. As cases of obesity continue to grow, there is a strong possibility that cases of dyslipidemia will also rise in tandem.

A recent study from Japan published in February 2023 in the Scientific Report by Yamada and colleagues analysed the impact of obesity on dyslipidemia in the Japanese population. It was a retrospective study of 10,852 individuals aged 65 and over who underwent health checkups between 2017 and 2021. The prevalence of dyslipidemia in the obese population was 19.5%. The odds of dyslipidemia rose by 2.5 times at a body mass index (BMI) of ≥35kg/m² compared with a normal weight. The risk of dyslipidemia was lower in women compared to men.

Dyslipidemia is a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. Dyslipidemia is caused by lifestyle factors, including high-fat diets, a lack of exercise, drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, or diseases such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, or chronic kidney disease.

Lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides are absorbed from the intestines and carried throughout the body via lipoproteins for energy, steroid production, or bile acid formation. An imbalance of any of these factors can lead to dyslipidemia. Obesity is assumed to increase insulin resistance and interfere with lipid circulation and absorption in the body. 

Cases of obesity and dyslipidemia are continuing to rise across the world. GlobalData epidemiologists forecast that there are currently more than 290 million total prevalent cases of dyslipidemia in the seven major pharmaceutical markets (7MM: US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan).

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Similarly, in the 7MM combined, there were 200 million total prevalent cases of obesity in 2023. The increase in the number of cases can be attributed to the projected increase in the population, as well as the changes in lifestyle factors in the 7MM.

A sedentary lifestyle and the diminishing role of intense physical activity suggest that obesity and dyslipidemia cases will continue to rise in the future. Poor eating habits and consuming ultra-processed food will exacerbate the obesity epidemic.

Public health awareness campaigns are needed to ensure people adhere to health behaviours that can maintain their BMI in a healthy range and avoid these conditions.