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Morbid Obesity

What Does It Mean to Be Morbidly Obese?

Obesity is defined as an excessive amount of body fat. Individuals who are 20 percent over ideal body weight are considered obese. Obesity rates among adults continue to rise; it is a disease that affects nearly 34% of adults in the US.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), you are "morbidly" obese if you reach a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater, or if you’re 100 pounds over your ideal body weight. An estimated 5 million to 10 million Americans are reportedly combating obesity today.

Morbid Obesity and Genetics

Morbid obesity is not simply a result of overeating, failing to exercise or a lack of will power. Research has shown that genetics is a significant underlying cause of obesity. Some people turn more of their calories into energy and heat, while others turn calories into fat. Morbid obesity is hereditary and if you’re morbidly obese, there’s a good chance it runs in your family.

The genetic connection with morbid obesity may explain, in part, why the success rate for non-surgical approaches to treating morbid obesity is so poor. NIH research shows that even those who do lose weight, gain most of it back within one year.

Health Risks of Morbid Obesity

Unlike ordinary obesity, which affects a lot of people but doesn’t significantly impact their health, morbid obesity poses serious health risks. It affects virtually every system in the body.

The health risks associated with obesity are called co-morbid conditions. They include:
  • Diabetes;
  • Heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke;
  • Sleep apnea and other breathing problems;
  • Back and joint problems;
  • Problems with skin, urination, or menstruation;
  • Depression or other mental health problems; and,
  • Certain cancers.

The health risks associated with morbid obesity, alone or in combination, can reduce life expectancy. The risk of death for diseases such as diabetes or heart attack is five to seven times greater for a morbidly obese person than for someone of normal weight. The psychological and social impact is equally devastating. It disrupts relationships and restricts mobility, which can keep you from doing even the most basic things like tying your shoes, playing with your kids or walking up stairs. When you feel like you can’t fully participate in life, it erodes your self-esteem and your self-worth. This can lead to depression. Moreover, morbidly obese people are often made to feel that they are personally responsible for their condition—that they have no willpower. But that’s not always the case. Morbid obesity is more complex.

Contact Us

If you have been struggling with obesity and would like to find out more information on weight-loss programs or weight-loss surgery at CentraState Medical Center, please call (866) CENTRA7.



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