Obesity Information

Obesity Information & Risks

How we can help

Obesity is a serious problem – a lifelong progressive disease of fat storage with serious medical, physical, social, psychological and economic effects. It results from a mixture of genetic problems, environmental effects, abnormal physiology and overeating. We know the frustrations, the tensions, the discrimination due to obesity-the impaired self-image and lost opportunities to participate in the physical and social fruits of life. But the problems are much greater. Consider the heart, lung, bone and joint disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, sleep disorders, shortened life-span and many other serious medical problems associated with obesity. Many surgical procedures now make use of less invasive means as opposed to open surgery, a change which often results in less pain, fewer scars, and a shortened recovery time. Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), often referred to as laparoscopic surgery, can be used with a wide variety of procedures including bariatric surgery.

What is obesity?

The American Society for Bariatric Surgery describes obesity as a life-long, progressive, life-threatening, costly genetically-related, multi-factorial disease of excess fat storage. The National Institute of Diabetes & Disease & Kidney Disease defines both obesity and overweight. Overweight refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. The excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Obesity refers specifically to having an abnormally high proportion of body fat. One can be overweight without being obese, as in the example of a bodybuilder who has a lot of muscle. However, many people who are overweight are also obese.

How is obesity measured?

In basic terms, obesity occurs when “energy in” is greater than “energy out”. However, obesity in most cases is caused by a combination of factors, such as, genetic, neuroendocrine, environmental, and metabolic issues. Multiple methods of measuring obesity exist. The most commonly used method in medicine is the Body Mass Index (BMI). The formula for the BMI is: weight (kg)/height squared (m2) Since in this country we use pounds and feet, our BMI calculator is available for you. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a classification to help numerically define obesity based on BMI.

Who Classification BMI
Ideal Weight 20-24.9
Overweight 25-29.9
Moderate obesity (class I) 30-34.9
Severe obesity (class II) 35-39.9
Morbid obesity (class III) 40-49.9
Super Obesity over 50

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What are the risks of obesity?

There are multiple medical and psychosocial issues associated with obesity. To discuss in detail even a fraction of them here would be impossible. A few of the medical risks include heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, respiratory problems, stroke, certain types of cancer, menstrual irregularities, and depression.

The psychosocial issues associated with obesity are usually obvious and may often stem from discrimination (conscious and subconscious) against obese people. Many formal and informal studies have demonstrated this discrimination in all parts of society. The major risk of obesity is risk of life. Obesity is known to decrease life expectancy. BMI correlates negatively with life expectancy. In other words, the heavier someone is the shorter his/her life span is.