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Obesity Education

A Growing EpidemicSewing Tape Measure Wrapped Around a Green Apple

We are facing an epidemic of obesity around the world. Recent estimates show that over 60% of Americans are overweight or obese, and at least 26 million are morbidly obese. Morbid obesity is a term that is defined as being at least 100 lbs. overweight or 100% over your ideal body weight. We use your height and weight to calculate your body mass index (BMI). A BMI of over 40 is considered morbidly obese. Over the past 20 years, the rate of morbid obesity has risen dramatically.

Reasons for Obesity

There are many reasons for obesity. It is a very complex disease, and your weight is affected by all or a combination of the following factors:

  • Overeating (large portions, grazing, snacking, poor food choices)
  • Environment (very high calorie foods, calorie-dense foods)
  • Physical health (limited activity due to job, health)
  • Mental health (depression, eating comfort foods)
  • Genetics (low metabolic rate, hormone regulation of appetite)
  • Exercise (lack of activity to burn calories)

Risks of Morbid Obesity

When you are morbidly obese, there is a significant negative impact on your health. The excess fat damages many organs in your body, decreases your life expectancy by up to 10 years, and also significantly increases your risk of numerous diseases. The most recent data shows that up to 300,000 deaths annually are due to diseases directly caused by obesity. Obesity can also negatively affect your mental and emotional health, your relationships with family and friends, and your ability to live the life you want to live.  

Obesity has been linked to the following medical conditions:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Hypertension—high blood pressure
  • Hyperlipidemia—high cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea—stop breathing for short times while sleeping
  • Coronary artery disease— heart attacks
  • Pulmonary embolism—blood clot traveling to lungs
  • Deep venous thrombosis—blood clot in leg
  • GERD—heartburn
  • Venous stasis ulcers—sores on legs due to pooling of blood
  • Cancer


Most of these diseases can be reversed or significantly improved by getting your weight under control.  Many people find that one year after surgery, they can stop medications for diabetes or stop their CPAP machines for sleep apnea.  Your family physicians will help guide you in this process as your weight decreases.


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