What's the Connection between Obesity and Fibromyalgia?

Published: July 10, 2012

Research out of Norway published in Arthritis Care & Research shows that women who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk for developing fibromyalgia, especially if they don’t exercise.

In a way, that’s not a surprise. Our research center has conducted two studies showing that people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia gain an average of 32½ pounds after the onset of the disease. But even though I do think being overweight can worsen the CFS/FMS, I don’t think it’s a cause.

I suspect that the underlying metabolic conditions that play such a key role in CFS/FMS — low levels of thyroid hormone, insulin resistance, candida infection, adrenal burnout, and other metabolic problems — also trigger the weight gain, which becomes one more symptom of CFS/FMS.

But that cloud has a very silvery lining: when you address the underlying metabolic problems, you can lose the weight — finally!

Another piece of good news: programs are being created that will teach physicians how to address the metabolic causes of weight gain so that people can lose weight safely and effectively. I’ll be talking more about this in an upcoming newsletter.


"Association between physical exercise, body mass index, and risk of fibromyalgia: longitudinal data from the Norwegian Nord-Trøndelag Health Study." Mork PJ, Vasseljen O, Nilsen TI. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2010 May;62(5):611-7.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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