Heart disease and diabetes aren't the only consequences linked with being overweight. According to a new poll, not many people are aware of the long list of obesity risks.

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In the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, only 15 percent of respondents indicated that obesity can contribute to arthritis. Five percent realized respiratory problems can be an issue. Arthritis is a risk factor, especially in the knee joints, which bear the brunt of a person's weight. Studies have shown that being overweight leads to problems like asthma and sleep apnea.

"Obesity can also put an individual at greater risk for strokes, high blood pressure, cancer - several different kinds of cancer, in fact," said Mary O'Dowd, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health.

Reproductive health issues like infertility have also been linked to obesity.

O'Dowd advised, "The very best thing someone can do is understand what weight they are at and what a healthy weight for them would be."

She said everyone should talk to their doctor or child's doctor about the risks of obesity and the best ways to avoid its risks.

New Jersey was recently ranked #8 in the country for overall health by the United Health Foundation.

Although New Jersey has lower obesity rates than most other states, the numbers have continued to rise steadily over the past ten years, with 23.7 percent of New Jersey adults now identifying themselves as obese.

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