When looking at bariatric surgery options, it’s important to understand what obesity is and why we, as obesity surgeons, are treating it.
What is obesity?
Although most people have a general understanding that being obese means being significantly overweight, the actual definition of obesity is more complex. Currently, the measure most commonly used is BMI.
BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and is a number that’s found by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters, squared.
BMI is not an ideal measure of obesity for several reasons. It does not take into account factors like muscle vs. fat, and it does not reflect the importance of different types of fat within the body. Despite the limitations of BMI, it is the currently accepted measurement.
Morbid obesity is a phrase you will hear when learning about obesity treatment options. The typical definition of morbid obesity is an adult with a BMI over 40, or a BMI over 35 if they have a related health condition. These health conditions, known as comorbidities, add to the difficulties of living with of obesity. They can include high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, GERD, Type 2 diabetes, and osteoarthritis.
|BMI Range||Official Designation|
|18.5 – 24.9||Ideal weight|
|25 – 29.9||Overweight|
|30 – 34.9||Obese|
|35 – 39.9||Severely Obese|
|40 – 49.9||Morbidly Obese|
A more specific type obesity you may hear about is called abdominal obesity. The amount of fat someone carries around their waist is particularly important because studies have linked this type of obesity with more serious health complications.
When looking at abdominal obesity, the general standard is a woman with a waist circumference of more than 35 inches, and a man with a waist circumference of more than 40 inches.
While measuring abdominal obesity does not replace BMI, it is an additional number that bariatric surgeons can consider when recommending appropriate options for obesity treatment.
Obesity is a disease
In 2013 the American Medical Association (AMA) officially recognized that obesity is a disease. This decision was met with some controversy, but indicates the importance of working to appropriately prevent and treat obesity.
Health care professionals who treat obesity were generally pleased with this decision, and hoped it would lead to an increase in primary care physicians addressing obesity with the level of seriousness and compassion it deserves.
It is incredibly difficult to lose a substantial amount of weight with diet and exercise alone. Even when people do lose weight, the majority of the time that weight comes back.
This is not reflective of a lack of willpower, but instead reflects the biological and environmental barriers to maintaining weight loss.
According to an article by the Harvard School of Public Health, “obesity diminishes almost every aspect of health, from reproductive and respiratory function to memory and mood. Obesity increases the risk of several debilitating and deadly diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.”
Our team is happy to speak with you and help you understand any of the treatments we offer, or answer any questions you have. Please call and speak with us at 619-305-9017, or read more about the surgical and non-surgical options we offer here.