The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery describes obesity as a life-long, progressive, life-threatening, costly, genetically related, multi-factorial disease of excess fat storage. And while there are several classes of obesity, a person is considered obese if he or she has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
BMI is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fat for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. Your BMI will place you in one of the following categories:
Normal Weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9)
Overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9)
Obese (Class I) (BMI 30 to 34.9)
Obese (Class II) (BMI 35 to 39.9 )
Morbidly Obese (Class III) (BMI 40 or more)
Calculate your BMI right now.
If you are obese, know you're not alone. This epidemic affects millions of Americans. In fact:
Between 80 percent and 90 percent of patients experience sustained weight loss with surgical therapy. On average, bariatric surgery patients lose more than 50 percent of their excess body weight. In contrast, non-surgical therapy only helps patients shed about 5 percent of their excess body weight. Don't fight this battle alone; let the Center for Weight Management at Northside Hospital help you or a loved one fight back against this epidemic.
Morbid obesity is a severe and dangerous level of obesity that significantly and negatively impacts health and shortens the lifespan.
For a patient to be considered clinically severe, or morbidly obese, he or she must have a body mass index or BMI of 35–39.9 with one or more severe health conditions or a BMI of 40 or greater.
Many of the same conditions that result from obesity are also found in people who are morbidly obese. But in someone who is considered morbidly obese, these same conditions are a much more serious risk to health and quality of life in general. Some of the most common diseases include:
Morbid obesity is caused by the interaction of many factors, but there are three main areas of concern:
Studies have demonstrated that genetics plays a large role in whether or not a person becomes obese. And while not all individuals who have obesity in their family will become obese, their genes can predispose them to conditions that result in obesity.
Behaviors commonly linked to obesity include but are not limited to unhealthy diets, eating past the point of fullness and lack of physical activity. Americans are eating far more calories than we need, and are doing less physical labor and fewer activities.
Our environment also has a lot to do with excess body weight. Restaurants serve much larger portions than in the past. Advertising entices us to purchase large amounts of high-calorie foods. And a fast-paced culture fosters both an increase in stress and insufficient rest—factors that contribute greatly to weight gain.
Left untreated, morbid obesity in younger and middle-aged men and women can significantly increase the risk of premature death. Morbidly obese people are more than twice as likely to die prematurely. And teens who are morbidly obese are estimated to live between 8 and 13 years less than their peers.
Morbidly obese patients gain the most from bariatric surgery. These are patients who have tried many other weight loss methods but have not succeeded in bringing and/or maintaining their weight within safe limits.