What is Obesity
Morbid Obesity
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Adult Obesity
Related Conditions
Obesity Stigmas
Causes of Obesity
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Who Is Considered Morbidly Obese?

According to the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), the term "morbid obesity" is defined as being 50-100 percent above one's ideal body weight, or 100 pounds above one's ideal body weight.

A person with a BMI (body mass index) value of 40 or greater would also be considered morbidly obese. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered merely "obese." Grade 3 overweight (commonly called severe or morbid obesity) is a BMI greater than or equal to 40 kg/m2. see weight classifications


Morbid obesity is a chronic disease that manifests as a steady, slow, progressive increase in body weight. Because of both emotional and physical reasons, obese people resist pursuing healthcare and may be more difficult to care for. In taking a practical approach to skin and wound care, using an interdisciplinary team is valuable.

Difficulty in assessment stems from problems such as equipment that is too small or as patient uncooperativeness. Skin/wound problems which are common, yet more difficult to manage for these patients, include pressure ulcers, tracheostomy care (potentially resulting from ventilatory insufficiency), candidiasis, tape-related skin tears, incontinence and lymphedema. In order to offer care and support to these patients and their families, clinicians must acknowledge and manage any personal prejudice they may have toward this patient population.

A comprehensive patient-focused plan of care is the goal. With this article are included four annotated suggested readings introducing topics such as the failure of behavioral and dietary treatments for obesity, theoretical and practical aspects of obesity assessment, current views on obesity (such as a move back to pharmacotherapeutic treatment), and the psychological aspects of severe obesity.

Several factors modulate the morbidity and mortality associated with obesity. They include age of onset and duration of obesity, severity of obesity, amount of central adiposity, other comorbidities, sex, and level of cardiorespiratory fitness.



2. Correspondence with other diseases

Obesity statistics from a recent study by Loyola University found that nearly two thirds of adults with type 2 diabetes are obese, but, worse, that one fifth of adults with type 2 diabetes are afflicted with morbid obesity. In addition, morbid obesity is well known to be associated with such conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems, depression, and gallbladder disease. The cause of these correspondences is varied among people; obesity statistics show that morbid obesity may result as a side effect of the disease, or may be rooted in the same causes as the disease, or even have caused the disease, depending on the person and the disease. Furthermore, obesity statistics show that people who have morbid obesity have death rates that are 50-60% higher than their thinner counterparts. Also, having a higher BMI corresponds with having a higher risk of getting cancer in the first place.

3. Causes

Obesity statistics show that morbid obesity is caused by a number of various factors. Many people focus on genetic predispositions to gaining weight, and obesity statistics do show a far stronger tie to genetics than previously thought. There is also, of course, a high correspondence to a poor diet and little exercise causing morbid obesity. Obesity statistics show in particular that morbid obesity is caused by a variety of causes.

4. Other side effects

Obesity statistics also show a correlation between morbid obesity and depression, partly from chemical changes in the body, but also because of a common trend of lower self esteem. Furthermore, obesity statistics have proven that people with higher rates of obesity tend to have lower paying jobs, get passed over for promotions more frequently, and are more likely to get fired.


What Can You do about Your Morbid Obesity

When a person is classified as morbidly obese, deciding how to treat this condition requires a serious approach. Each treatment differs from person to person, as there is no one treatment for obesity. It is important to first talk with your physician about your weight, if you have not already engaged in that conversation. Your physician can best diagnose your weight issue and give you the options according to your health and lifestyle. It is important to work with your doctor in this journey.

There are several methods available to address morbid obesity. You will find that treatment strategies for morbid obesity mirror that of treating general obesity. However, it is important to note that treating morbid obesity often takes a more aggressive approach, which includes bariatric surgery.

Behavior Modification and Physical Activity
Behavior plays a large role in obesity. Modifying those behaviors that may have contributed to developing obesity is one way to treat the disease. A few suggested behavior modifiers include:

  • Changing eating habits

  • Increasing physical activity

  • Becoming educated about the body and how to nourish it appropriately

  • Engaging in a support group or extracurricular activity

  • Setting realistic weight management goals

It is important to make a solid commitment to changing a behavior or lifestyle. Involve your family and/or friends and ask them to help you make the necessary changes to positively impact your health.

Increasing or initiating a physical activity program is an important aspect in managing obesity. Today’s society has developed a very sedentary lifestyle and routine physical activity can greatly impact your health.

You should consult with your physician before initiating any exercise program. Set realistic goals and make sure they are measurable. Involving your family or friends can also help to maintain your physical activity level and reach your goals.

Commercial Programs
Participating in a non-clinical program or commercially operated program is another form of treatment for morbid obesity. Some programs may be commercially operated, such as a privately owned weight-loss chain. Counselors, books, Web sites or support groups are all ways you can be involved in a non-clinical weight-loss program.

Physician-supervised Weight-loss
Physician-supervised weight-loss programs provide treatment in a clinical setting with a licensed healthcare professional, such as a medical doctor, nurse, registered dietitian and/or psychologist. These programs typically offer services such as nutrition education, pharmacotherapy, physical activity and behavioral therapy.

Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is a treatment for morbid obesity and should be reserved as the last resort. There are various surgical options to choose from when considering bariatric surgery. In order to qualify for surgery, individuals must have a BMI of 40 or greater, or a BMI more than 35 and an existing weight-related co-morbidity, such as diabetes or hypertension.

Deciding if surgery is right for you, as well as choosing which surgical option is best for you is a decision to be made by you and your doctor.  To learn more about bariatric surgery, please click here.

To learn more about all the available weight-loss options, please visit the “Weight-loss Options” page.