Obesity in inflammatory bowel disease: A review of its role in the pathogenesis, natural history, and treatment of IBD

Amanda Johnson, Edward Loftus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In contrast to previous perceptions that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients are generally malnourished and underweight, there is mounting evidence to suggest that rates of obesity in IBD now mirror that of the general population. IBD is an immune-mediated condition that appears to develop in individuals who have not only a genetic predisposition to immune dysregulation but also likely exposure to various environmental factors which further potentiate this risk. With the surge in obesity alongside the rising incidence of IBD, particularly in developing nations, the role that obesity may play, not only in the pathogenesis but also in the natural history of disease has become a topic of growing interest. Currently available data exploring obesity's impact on the natural history of IBD are largely conflicting, potentially limited by the use of body mass index as a surrogate measure of obesity at varying time points throughout the disease course. While there are pharmacokinetic data to suggest possible detrimental effects that obesity may have on the response to medical therapy, results in this realm are also inconsistent. Moreover, not only is it unclear whether weight loss improves IBD outcomes, little is known about the safety and efficacy of available weight-loss strategies in this population. For these reasons, it becomes increasingly important to further understand the nature of any interaction between obesity and IBD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalSaudi Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Crohn's disease
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • obesity
  • ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Obesity in inflammatory bowel disease: A review of its role in the pathogenesis, natural history, and treatment of IBD'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this