What is Obesity?

Morbid obesity is a chronic disease with symptoms that build slowly over an extended period of time. It is defined as being 100 pounds or more over your ideal body weight or having a BMI of 40 or higher. It is a life-long progressive, life-threatening, genetically-related, costly, multi-factorial disease of excess fat storage with multiple comorbidities. It is a major public health problem worldwide that affects 25% of industrialized world.

  • 66% of Americans are overweight.
  • 25% of American children are overweight.
  • 5-11 million Americans are morbidly obese.
  • 6% of health care expenditures ($238 billion year).
  • Morbidly obese die 10-15 years earlier - 300,000 deaths annually.

Please click on the following link to see the obesity trend in the United States: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/maps/index.htm

There are many contributing factors to obesity and these include genetic/hereditary, environmental, metabolic and eating disorders. Weight gain usually results when one of these factors affects us in a negative way. When a person’s obesity effects the overall health to the point of significantly increasing the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions or co-morbidities (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.), that person is said to be morbidly obese.

Our genetic make-up plays a major role in gaining excess weight. It determines our “susceptibility” or “risk” of becoming overweight or obese. Our personalized attitudes also influence our behavior regarding what we eat and how much we engage in physical activities in our daily lives.

Genes also affect how efficiently our body utilizes and burns calories and where our body fat is stored. If you have a high metabolic rate, this means that you burn your calories a lot faster so you are less prone to gaining weight than someone else that has a slow metabolic rate. Even people with the same diet may not show any relation to the body weight of each other while a family whose member’s live apart and do not have the same diet may show a close relation to each other’s body size.

Environmental factors such as fast food restaurants impact the development of our body weight. Please visit the following National Institute of Health’s link, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/portion-distortion.htm,  showing the portion distortion that has occurred over the last couple of decades.

Obesity impacts a person in many ways. The social implications of being obese do not allow a person to fully enjoy life in the simplest form such as crossing one’s legs or comfortably wear a seatbelt to limited recreational opportunities such as traveling. Unfortunately, the obese population endures discrimination from healthcare providers, co-workers, friends and even family members. Moreover, the emotional impact is greater in the obese population. For example, for persons of normal weight, the incidence of depression is 20-25% but for a morbidly obese person, the rate is as high as 89%! Physically, an obese person does not exercise as much due to bone, joint or muscle pains and overall deconditioning. Coupled with sitting behind a desk all day, the opportunity to burn calories is limited.

How do you combat obesity and improve your health?

You have probably tried and, at least initially, were very successful at dieting. Many of our patients have tried multiple diets, some of them more than once, to lose weight. You have exercised in the past and, although may still have exercise as part of your routine, you are unable to lose weight and may even be gaining. Now is the time to investigate your weight loss surgical options. Please take the first step today and attend one of our informational seminars.


Please contact us call us at 859.543.1577 to learn more about how Bluegrass Bariatrics can help you and/or your loved ones today.

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