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Obesity is a serious health condition and growing epidemic that in some cases can affect people both physically and psychologically.1 Because diet and exercise alone are often not enough to combat obesity or its related conditions, it is clear that additional approaches are needed. Harnessing our legacy and expertise in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, Pfizer aims to not only advance breakthrough treatments for people living with the effects of obesity, but also to help drive understanding of obesity as a disease.

For more information about our pipeline and clinical trials related to obesity, visit this page.

  • Obesity is a serious health condition characterized by excess weight or body fat that may affect an individual’s health. Obesity has been associated with more than 200 health-related complications affecting every organ system in the body including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, joint pain, and cancer, among other diseases.1,2,3,4

  • The prevalence of obesity worldwide has nearly tripled since 1975.5 Obesity impacts 650 million people worldwide today and is expected to grow to over 1 billion by 2030.6,7 Additionally, younger generations are now experiencing obesity earlier and for longer periods of time throughout the course of their lives than did previous generations.8

  • Although there are no specific symptoms of obesity, a high body mass index (BMI) and an unhealthy body fat distribution – which can be estimated by measuring waist circumference – can help healthcare providers diagnose obesity.10

    Risk factors for obesity include diet and lifestyle, however, there are also many risk factors that are beyond a person’s control, including genetics, hormones, and other medical conditions.9

  • The National Institutes of Health recommends that children and adults be screened annually to determine if they have a high or increasing BMI. Adults with a BMI above 30 are considered to be living with obesity. Children ages 2 and older are considered to be living with obesity if their BMI falls at or above the 95th percentile, compared to other children of the same sex and age.10

  • While diet and exercise can be an important part of the solution for people with obesity, these strategies alone are sometimes not effective in promoting sustained weight loss.2 Current pharmacological treatments have limitations, including lack of efficacy and serious side effects, and it has been observed that healthcare providers are less likely to prescribe them to people with obesity, compared to other treatment methods.11

Obesity is a focus of our Internal Medicine Therapeutic Area.

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We proudly partner with thousands of study sites and tens of thousands of trial participants around the world. It's these clinical trials that lead to life-changing medicines.

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1Kelishadi R, Djalalinia S, Qorbani M, Peykari N. Health impacts of Obesity. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences. 2014;31(1). doi:10.12669/pjms.311.7033.
2Ahima RS. Digging deeper into obesity. J Clin Invest. 2011;121(6):2076-2079.
3Yuen MM et al. A Systematic Review and Evaluation of Current Evidence Reveals 195 Obesity-Associated Disorders (OBAD). Presented at: Obesity Week 2016; October 31–November 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA. Poster T-P-3166. Manuscript in preparation.
4Jastreboff AM et al. Obesity as a Disease: The Obesity Society 2018 Position Statement. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2019;27:7-9.
5Blüher M. Obesity: global epidemiology and pathogenesis. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2019;15(5):288-298.
6WHO. Obesity and overweight. (February 2018)
7Kelly T et al. Global burden of obesity in 2005 and projections to 2030. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008;32:1431-1437.
8Study finds rise in obesity related cancers in young adults in the U.S. American Cancer Society MediaRoom. Accessed November 7, 2019.
9Wilborn C, Beckham J, Campbell B, et al. Obesity: prevalence, theories, medical consequences, management, and research directions. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2005;2:4-31.
10National Institutes of Health. Overweight and Obesity.
11Kaplan LM, Golden A, Jinnett K, et al. Perceptions of Barriers to Effective Obesity Care: Results from the National ACTION Study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018;26(1):61‐69. doi:10.1002/oby.22054.