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Understanding Obesity

What is obesity?

The disease of obesity is a health epidemic in our country. It is estimated that 93 million Americans are affected by obesity and that number continues to climb. It is important for those with obesity to reach out for help as it is a complex condition.

The causes of obesity are multiple and complex. Despite conventional wisdom, it is not simply a result of overeating. Research has shown that obesity is caused by genetics, the environment, behaviors as well as hormones, specifically leptin and ghrelin. Unfortunately, studies have demonstrated that efforts such as dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective, long-term relief.

Obesity is measured several ways, but the most common method is using the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is simply calculated using height and weight.

Find out your BMI

What causes obesity?

The causes of obesity are multiple and complex. Despite conventional wisdom, it is not simply a result of overeating. Research has shown that obesity is caused by genetics, the environment, behaviors as well as hormones, specifically leptin and ghrelin. Unfortunately, studies have demonstrated that efforts such as dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective, long-term relief.

Science continues to search for answers. But until obesity is better understood, the control of excess weight is something patients must work at their entire lives. That is why it is very important to understand that all current medical interventions, including weight loss surgery, should not be considered medical cures. Rather they are attempts to reduce the effects of excessive weight and alleviate the serious physical, emotional and social consequences of obesity.

What is clinically severe obesity?

photo of a BMI Chart

Excess weight affects your life and your health. A useful tool for determining if your weight has reached a problematic level is their BMI is 30 or higher. The additional classification of morbidly obese is given when an individual's excess weight puts their life at risk. You are considered to have clinically severe obesity if you:

  • Are more than 100 pounds over your ideal weight
  • Have a BMI of 40 or greater
  • Have a BMI of 35 or greater in addition to life-threatening conditions related to obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, and depression.

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