Being overweight comes with a list of health issues. It makes you more likely to have heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. It also can double or triple your risk of developing some digestive diseases. This includes gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), esophageal cancer, colon polyps, colon cancer, gallstones, and fatty liver disease. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) GERD is the result of acid from your stomach flowing back up into your esophagus. The main symptom is heartburn. Being overweight makes GERD symptoms worse. Increased belly fat causes more pressure on your stomach, which results in more backflow of acid. Several studies show that losing weight is a good way to decrease GERD and heartburn. One such study was published in the journal Obesity and it found that most people with GERD who took part in a diet-and-exercise program completely got rid of their symptoms. Esophageal Cancer Being overweight also increases your risk of esophageal cancer. That's mostly because extra weight often means having persistent reflux. And that makes GERD more likely. Most people with GERD do not develop cancer, but it can happen. With time, reflux can change the cells that line your esophagus. This creates a precancerous condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. People with this condition have a greater chance of developing esophageal cancer. You can reduce your risk by keeping your weight at a healthy level. Also, eat a diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables, and few processed meats. Gallbladder Disease Your gallbladder is an important digestive organ. It is located on the right side of your belly, just below your ribs. Juices from the gallbladder help digest fats. Gallstones are the most common gallbladder disease. Being overweight—especially if you're a woman—makes gallstones more likely. Gallstones are painful, and can also cause nausea and vomiting. Symptoms often occur after a heavy meal and can last for hours. To decrease your risk, keep your weight in line. Include high-fiber foods in your diet and avoid refined sugars. Colon Polyps and Colon Cancer Medical research suggests that being extremely overweight can lead to colon cancer. A study published in the journal PLoS ONE in 2014 found that obese men are more likely to develop colon polyps. Men in the study who were obese were six and a half times more likely to have three or more colon polyps than were normal-weight men. Polyps are not cancer, but they can turn into cancer. If you are overweight, you can lower your risk of polyps and colon cancer if you lose weight. It helps to exercise more and eat less red meat. It also helps to eat lots of fruits, vegetables and fiber. If you are older than 50, ask your doctor if you should have a colonoscopy. This test checks for polyps and cancer. It's an important test because you can have colon polyps and not have any symptoms. Fatty Liver Disease Your liver is a large organ, weighing about three pounds. It sits on your right side, under your ribs. The liver plays an important role in digestion by converting food into energy. However, fat can build up in the liver and damage it, leading to fatty liver disease. Drinking too much alcohol and being overweight can cause this. There are two types of fatty liver disease—alcoholic and non-alcoholic. If 5 to 10% of your liver’s weight is from fat that is not due to alcohol, you have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Symptoms can include weakness, fatigue, nausea, weight loss, belly pain, and yellowing of your skin. There are no medical treatments for fatty liver disease. However, weight loss can ease symptoms and prevent further liver damage. Maintain a healthy weight, get regular exercise, and avoid alcohol.