What is Morbid Obesity? Print

Morbid obesity, also called clinically severe obesity, is defined as that in which a person is at least 100 lbs overweight. More commonly, we use the Body Mass Index or BMI to determine if a person is morbidly obese. A person that has a BMI greater than 40 kg/m2 has clinically severe obesity and is at high risk for developing multiple medical problems and early death. BMI correlates better with the excess of fat and is a better indicator of the risk of associated medical problems or co-morbidities than weight alone.

Morbid obesity is a disease of excess fat storage, usually lasts a lifetime, it is progressive, is life-threatening and the cause usually has a genetic component; however, it is affected by many other factors including poor dietary habits and lack of exercise. The epidemic of obesity affecting the U.S. has resulted in doubling of adult obese patients, tripling of adolescent obesity and quadrupling of morbid obesity in the last two decades. On the other hand, there has been a significant
increase in the safety of bariatric surgery, development of techniques that allow a rapid recovery time and steady increases in the effectiveness of these operations.

Morbid obesity is associated with increased risk of disease and death. Health risks increase dramatically as the BMI increases. We can list a number of medical problems directly related to morbid obesity. This is a partial listing only.

Am I Morbidly Obese?

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

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