Morbid obesity brings with it an increased risk for a shorter life
expectancy. For individuals whose weight exceeds
twice their ideal body weight, the risk of an early death is doubled compared to non-obese individuals.
What is even more alarming is that the risk of
death from diabetes or heart attack is five to
seven times greater.
Even beyond the issue of obesity-related health conditions, weight
gain alone can lead to a condition known as "end-stage" obesity
where, for the most part, no treatment options are available.
Yet an early death is not the only potential consequence,
social, psychological and economic effects of morbid obesity, however
unfair, are real and can be equally as devastating.
Obesity becomes "morbid" when it reaches the point of significantly
increasing the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions
or serious diseases (also known as co-morbidities) that result either
in significant physical disability or even death. As you read about
morbid obesity you may also see the term "clinically severe obesity" used.
Both are descriptions of the same condition and can be used interchangeably.
Morbid obesity is typically defined as being 100 lbs. or more over ideal
body weight or having a Body Mass Index of 40 or higher.
the National Institutes of Health Consensus Report,
morbid obesity is a serious disease and chronic disease, where the symptoms
build slowly over an extended period of time.
The reasons for obesity are multiple and complex. Despite conventional
wisdom, it is not simply a result of overeating. Research has shown
that, in many cases, a significant underlying cause of morbid obesity
is genetic. Studies have demonstrated that once the problem is established,
efforts such as dieting and exercise program have a limited ability
to provide effective long-term relief.
While a healthy diet as well as exercise can result
in weight loss, the real challenge is maintaining this loss. A continuous
cycle of weight loss and gain (yo-yo dieting) can cause serious health
risks. If you have tried diet and exercise, but remain seriously obese,
weight loss (bariatric) surgery may be the best way to regain your
Answering this question may give you the courage you need to take the first step. Below are tools you can use to determine if you are morbidly obese and potentially a candidate for weight loss surgery.
There are several medically accepted criteria for defining morbid obesity. You are likely morbidly obese if you are:
- more than 100 lbs. over your ideal body weight, or
- have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40, or
- have a BMI of over 35 and are experiencing severe negative health effects, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, related to being severely overweight
- unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically supervised dieting
Enter your height and weight to Calculate your BMI Index.
The results of typical BMI calculations are approximate values, and
are intended to be used only as a rough guide.
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