Obesity and Your Health

Obesity increases the risk of illness from about 30 serious medical conditions.
-American Obesity Association

Obesity — and to a greater extent morbid obesity — can lead to a shorter life, and many obesity-related health conditions, including:

  • Type II Diabetes
  • High blood pressure/Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Osteoarthritis of weight-bearing joints
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea/Respiratory problems
  • Gastroesophageal reflux/Heartburn
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Urinary stress incontinence

Studies show the risk of an early death for an obese person is doubled compared with a non-obese person.*

The most accepted way to define “normal” weight versus “obesity” is through a height-weight ratio called the Body Mass Index, or BMI.

  • A BMI of 18-25 is considered normal weight.
  • A BMI of 26-29 is considered “overweight.”
  • A BMI of 30-34 is considered “obese.” (Class I)
  • A BMI of 35-39 is considered “severely obese.” (Class II)
  • A BMI of 40 and above is considered “morbidly obese.” (Class III)

A BMI of 40 translates into about 100 lbs. of excess body weight.

*American Society for Bariatric Surgery

Surgery as a solution

Only surgery has proven effective over the long term for most patients with clinically severe obesity.
-National Institutes of Health

Bariatrics is the medical specialty dealing with the medical and surgical treatment of obesity. You must be morbidly obese or severely obese with other related health conditions in order to qualify for bariatric surgery.

This type of weight-loss surgery is not cosmetic surgery and does not involve the removal of fat. In fact, it’s the furthest thing from a “quick fix.” It’s a serious surgery involving a strong commitment to dramatic, lifelong changes in diet, exercise and behavior. And, as with all surgeries, there are risks.

But for many, the risk of death from not having the surgery is greater. About 300,000 adult Americans die every year from poor dietary habits and lack of physical activity.* Among people who choose gastric bypass surgery, one study shows an 89% improvement in life expectancy.**

To begin considering whether weight-loss surgery may be the right solution for you, you must first talk with your doctor about all the potential benefits and risks involved.

*American Obesity Association

**Christou NV, Sampalis JS, Liberman M, et al. Surgery Decreases Long-term Mortality, Morbidity, and Health Care Use in Morbidly Obese Patients. Ann Surg 2004;240(3):416-424

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