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Obesity

What is Obesity?

Obesity is the result of accumulating fat that exceeds the body's skeletal and physical standards. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of 20 percent or more above your ideal body weight is the point at which excess weight becomes a health risk. Today 97 million Americans, more than one-third of the adult population, are overweight or obese. An estimated 5 to 10 million of those are considered morbidly obese.

What Is Morbid Obesity?

When obesity 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, it is termed morbid obesity. Bariatric or weight-loss surgery may be an option for some people.

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. According to the National Institutes of Health Consensus Report, morbid obesity is a serious disease and must be treated as such. It is a chronic disease, meaning that its symptoms build slowly over an extended period of time.

Am I Morbidly Obese

Answering this question may give you the courage you need to take the first step. You can use the tools below 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
  • have been unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically supervised dieting.