medical causes of obesity

Last reviewed 04/2022

Endocrine causes of obesity include:

  • Cushing’s syndrome – if cortisol excess is suspected then there should be prompt specialist referral
  • Thyroid disease – Thyroid function is worth checking as sub-clinical thyroid dysfunction is relatively common
    • however, the link between hypothyroidism and obesity has probably been overstated (1)
  • Sex hormones – Alterations of sex-hormone metabolism are associated with obesity, e.g. hyperandrogenism in polycystic ovary syndrome


  1. British Heart Foundation (November 2004). Factfile - the causes of obesity.