What is Obesity?
Obesity is a medical condition in which fat levels in the body exceed healthy limits. The most widely accepted definition of obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. BMI is calculated by dividing weight by height squared.
Body Mass Index Standards
BMI = weight (kg)/height 2 (m 2)
- BMI 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy
- BMI 25 to 29.9 Overweight
- BMI 30 to 34.9 Obese
- BMI 35 to 39.9 Clinically Severe Obesity
- BMI 40 or higher Morbidly Obese
An individual with a BMI between 35 and 40 has clinically severe obesity. This degree of obesity leads to (or will lead to) multiple obesity-related medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, reflux disease, heart and lung disease, and arthritis. Severe obesity is a chronic condition that is very difficult to treat. Traditional weight loss methods, such as diets, medications, exercise, and behavior modification, rarely produce long-term weight loss for patients with severe or morbid cases. Regaining weight after dieting is extremely common and can lead to feelings of guilt and depression.
A BMI above 40 indicates that a person is morbidly obese. These patients are at very high risk of developing obesity-related health conditions as well as early death. All patients with morbid obesity are candidates for weight loss surgery.
Patients with a BMI between 35 and 40 (severe obesity), who suffer from at least one obesity-related medical condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, and sleep apnea, are also candidates for weight loss surgery.
For nearly all people with severe obesity, Weight Loss Surgery (bariatric surgery) is the only proven method to produce long-term, sustainable weight loss. When other methods of weight loss have failed, bariatric surgery offers the best method of achieving a longer, healthier, and happier life for patients with severe obesity. Weight Loss Surgery should be regarded as an extremely powerful tool to help fight obesity, but it is only a tool, and nutrition and exercise remain extremely important to successful outcomes.