Defining Morbid Obesity
Back to a Better You
We provide for both your mental and physical well being on your weight loss journey, including a support group. To learn more, get our brochure.
Obesity is a serious disease with symptoms that build slowly over an extended period of time. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) define morbid obesity as:
- Being 100 pounds or more above your ideal body weight
- Or, having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or greater
- Or, having a BMI of 35 or greater and one or more co-morbid conditions
The disease of morbid obesity interferes with basic physical functions such as breathing or walking. Long-term implications of the disease include shorter life expectancy, serious health consequences in the form of weight-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and a lower quality of life with fewer economic and social opportunities.
Obesity is a serious public health issue. In the U.S.:
- 24 million U.S. adults are living with morbid obesity and may qualify for bariatric surgery based on NIH guidelines.
- By 2010, it is projected that there may be 31 million U.S. adults living with morbid obesity and may qualify for bariatric surgery based on NIH guidelines.
The presence of obesity increases the risk of a number of medical conditions, including cancer. A co-morbid condition is a health condition related to a primary disease such as obesity.
There are many health conditions related to morbid obesity, but some of the most common are:
- Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, amputation of the feet or legs, and nerve damage
- Heart disease, such as hardening of the arteries, heart attack, and angina
- High blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and vision loss
- High cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure
- Obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with high blood pressure
- Acid reflux/GERD, which can lead to esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma)
- Osteoarthritis and joint pain, which can lead to loss of mobility
- Stress urinary incontinence
- Female reproductive health disorder, which can lead to infertility and sexual dysfunction
An emerging body of literature demonstrating relationships between maternal obesity and structural birth defects, including:
- Increased risk of spina bifida and heart defects
- Decreased risk of gastroschisis
These conditions occur more frequently in people with morbid obesity. Mortality rates from many of these conditions are also higher among people with morbid obesity.