What you should know about morbid obesity


Obesity is an ever-growing health problem. As the number of overweight and obese Americans rises so does the number who are severely or morbidly obese. Morbid obesity is a serious health condition that results from an abnormally high body mass index.

A person with morbid obesity may have difficulty performing daily functions, such as walking and breathing, and is at increased risk for many serious health problems.

In theory, anyone can become morbidly obese. For someone to gain weight and become morbidly obese, they must consume more calories than their body can burn and use. The body stores the unnecessary calories as fat.

As more and more calories are consumed, the fat stores grow larger, leading to obesity or, as a worst case, morbid obesity.

Fast facts on morbid obesity:

  • The condition is characterized by having an extreme amount of excess body fat.
  • A doctor diagnoses it with a physical exam plus some basic questions.
  • For most people, morbid obesity is preventable and can be reversed.

What is morbid obesity?
Those who are morbidly obese are at an increased risk of developing serious health problems.

Morbid obesity is when a person has extreme amounts of excess body fat and a body mass index or BMI greater than 35.


BMI is a scale that helps doctors and other medical professionals determine if a person is within a healthy weight range.

Some doctors also consider a person to be morbidly obese if their BMI is not over 35, but they are more than 100 pounds overweight.

BMI is broken down as follows:

  • Normal: 19.0–24.9
  • Overweight: 25.0–29.9
  • Obese stage 1: 30.0–34.9
  • Obese stage 2: 35.0–39.9
  • Morbidly obese stage 3: 40.0 or greater

How does morbid obesity differ from obesity?

  • A person can be obese without being considered morbidly obese. A person who is obese has a BMI of 30 or above.
  • When a person is morbidly obese, they are at greater risk of heart disease, certain illnesses, and conditions that directly affect their quality of life such as:

These conditions are often referred to as comorbidities and are responsible for causing disabilities or even death.

Morbid obesity occurs when a person reaches a level of obesity that greatly increases the chances of developing one of these conditions.

The best way to prevent obesity is through diet and exercise. A healthful diet combined with regular, moderately intense exercise is ideal.

A person should look to eat:

  • fresh, non-processed fruits
  • green, leafy vegetables
  • limited amounts of sugar
  • reduced number of calories
  • smaller, more frequent meals

A person may want to consider regularly doing some of the following exercises for 30 minutes, up to five times a week:

  • walking
  • running
  • jogging
  • jumping rope
  • riding a bike
  • swimming
  • rowing
  • yoga or other fitness classes

If you need help call Dr. Steve or stop into his office.  He could start you on a diet and exercise program that could help you reach your health and fitness goals!

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