What Is Obesity?

Obesity is a chronic, metabolic disease caused by multiple and complex factors, including increased calorie intake, decreased physical activity and genetic influences. Morbid obesity is a health condition defined as being at least 60 to 100 pounds over your ideal body weight. A formula used to determine morbid obesity is the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is calculated by using your height and weight to determine your overall body composition. Specifically obesity is an excess of body fat tissue. It is associated with increased cell size and number. Population studies indicate a direct correlation between Body Mass Index (BMI) and morbidity and mortality. Ranges of BMI have been established for the purpose of analyzing and developing guidelines for effective approaches in the treatment and prevention of obesity. It is now accepted that an increase in body weight of 20 percent or more above normal constitutes a health hazard and is considered obese. People with mild obesity may be at risk if they have associated co-morbidities or the risk factors of these diseases.

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America has become increasingly overweight. In fact, obesity affects more than 23% of adults and 20% of adolescents today. And morbid obesity plagues millions of people (57% of Americans) -- men and women of all ages, races and backgrounds. If you are struggling with significant excess weight, you are not alone.

The Weight of the Nation

Left unchecked, obesity’s effects on health, health care costs, and our productivity as a nation could become catastrophic. In a recent study by the IOM, the Institute of Medicine, the staggering human toll of obesity-related chronic disease and disability, and an annual cost of $190.2 billion for treating obesity-related illness, underscore the urgent need to strengthen prevention efforts in the United States.

The CDC, The Center for Disease Control, has been tracking as part of government programs to reduce obesity nationwide the states with the highest obesity rates. In order from most obese to least: Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana and South Carolina (tied), and Kentucky and Texas (tied). In Mississippi, the most obese state, a staggering 34.9% of the population is obese. In Kentucky and Texas, 30.4% of the population is obese. Even the states with the lowest obesity rates still have a problem. The top 10 least obese states: Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Washington DC and New Jersey (tie), California, Utah, and Connecticut, Nevada, and New York (three-way tie). Colorado, the fittest state, still has a 20.7% obesity rate. If only to underscore the fattening of America a Sept 2012 headline article announced that studies show 60% of US dogs are now severely overweight! In response to this, Tufts Medical, one of the nation’s foremost treatment centers for human weight loss has set up the nation’s first program to treat morbidly obese dogs. It is isn’t hard to recognize the real culprit in this scenario.

Deciding whether to undergo bariatric surgery is a major decision. Many people do not realize the profound effect that severe obesity has on the mind and body. That includes the severely obese themselves. The severely obese individual faces health, social and psychological problems that are not fully recognized by society. Obesity is not caused by a lack of will power as is commonly believed. Obesity has overwhelming consequences from the perspective of poor health. Co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, infertility, arthritis, diabetes, sleep apnea heart and lung disease and a shorten life span go hand in hand in the lives of most obese individuals. For some even everyday tasks such as getting in and out of a car can be a challenge and drain their strength.

With obesity comes a compromised quality of life and critical illness. Medical and behavioral interventions rarely result in the significant, sustained, weight loss necessary to improve health. To date, surgical therapy is the only effective tool to combat the disease of morbid obesity. Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding and roux-en-Y gastric bypass offer safe and effective long-term weight loss. There is resultant improvement or resolution of co-morbid disease states. Conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, gastro esophageal reflux, joint pain, infertility and others get resolved with weight loss following bariatric surgery. The resolution or improvement in co-morbidities has been shown in studies to prolong lives.


Learn What Long Island Laparoscopic Doctorssm Can Do for You: An Introduction to Bariatric Surgery