Bariatric Surgery (Morbid Obesity) Overview

Morbid Obesity is rapidly becoming a major health issue in industrialized countries around the globe. The Body Mass Index (weight in Kg/height in m2) is the primary measurement used to define obesity. Ideal body weight is defined by the Metropolitan Life Tables or as BMI 18-25 Kg/m2.

In 1991, the National Health Institute of Health defined morbid obesity as BMI ≥40 Kg/m2, or BMI 35-40 Kg/m2 with certain obesity-related medical problems. 

The following table describes the classification of obesity:

  • Underweight - BMI <18.5
  • Normal - BMI 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight - BMI 25.0-29.9
  • Obesity (class 1) - BMI 30-34.9 (20% Over Ideal Body Weight )
  • Severe obesity (class 2) - BMI 35-39.9 (100% Over Ideal Body Weight )
  • Severe obesity (class 3) - BMI 40-49.9 
  • Superobesity - BMI > 50 (250% Over Ideal Body Weight )

Does morbid obesity have any effects on health?

Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide. 

There are several negative consequences of obesity on health in the general population and are well documented by available evidence and multiple studies. Obesity increases the risk of several physical and mental conditions, such as:

  • Type II diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol)
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Breathing disorders, including sleep apnoea
  • Cancers, such as uterine, ovarian, colon, breast cancer etc.
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Depression
  • Sexual disorders

Some interesting facts about morbid obesity

  • It is estimated that ~60% of adults among the general population in the US and ~40% in Europe are morbidly obese
  • Annually, 200,000-250,000 deaths in the US are attributed to morbid obesity and its related complications
  • Morbid obesity decreases a person’s average lifespan by 6-7 years
  • During the last two decades, surgical operations performed to treat morbid obesity have increased ten-fold(x10)!
  • In the US, 150-200 billion dollars are spent annually to treat morbid obesity and obesity-related disease