Search our Physician Database to find the one that is right for you.

Go

Watch 60 Second Housecall

Every Monday through Friday
On WTVA at Noon and Ten...

Make someone's day a little brighter with a hand-delivered email greeting!

Send a Patient an eGreeting!

What is Morbid Obesity?

A clear definition of morbid obesity is very important because it helps physicians set the guidelines for bariatric surgery candidates. A patient is morbidly obese when he or she is so heavy that the fat tissue load creates (or will create) other medical problems. Morbid obesity is a chronic condition, a disease that is very difficult to treat. This disease can severely impair the quality of life.

Surgery to promote weight loss by restricting food intake or interrupting digestive processes is an option for morbidly obese people. Roughly, individuals are usually morbidly obese if their weight is more than 100 pounds in excess of the Ideal Body Weight (IBW). However, a more exact (and more widely accepted) way to define morbid obesity is to use the Body Mass Index (BMI). A BMI above 40 indicates that a person is morbidly obese and therefore a potential candidate for bariatric surgery.

Bariatric surgery may also be an option for people with a BMI between 35 and 40 who suffer from co-morbidities such as cardiopulmonary problems or diabetes. However, as in other treatments for obesity, successful results depend mainly on motivation and behavior. Bariatric surgery offers the best option of long-term weight control for those with morbid obesity when other medically supervised methods have failed.

Obesity is a rapidly increasing chronic and complex disease. The health consequences of obesity are most apparent in individuals whose weight exceeds twice their ideal body weight (BMI > 40 kg/m2). The risk of death doubles in obese individuals as compared to non-obese individuals. The risk of cancer quadruples (four times higher). In addition, the risk of death from diabetes or heart attack is 57 times greater than the general population.

Now that the Bariatric Center is designated as an Accredited Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program and is recognized in the Optum Centers of Excellence Network, weight loss surgery at NMMC is covered by more health plans, including those for teachers, state employees and many offered by employers. So, check your health plan benefits, talk to your doctor and weigh your options.