- What is Morbid Obesity?
- How do we know it's genetic?
- How do you know if you are Morbidly Obese?
- What can you do to regain your health?
- How do you know if you are Morbidly Obese and Possibly a Candidate for Surgery?
- BMI Calculator and Charts
- Ideal Body Weight Chart
Obesity Rate in U.S. Still Climbing --(HealthDay News) According to the fourth annual report for America's Health, adult obesity rates rose in 31 states last year, 22 states experienced an increase for the second year in a row, and no state had a rate decrease. More News
What is Morbid Obesity?
Medically, the word "morbid" means causing disease or injury. Morbid Obesity is a serious disease process, in which the accumulation of fatty tissue on the body becomes excessive, and interferes with, or injures the other bodily organs, causing serious and life-threatening health problems, which are called co-morbidities.
Morbid Obesity is also called Clinically Severe Obesity, and is recognized by the consensus of medical opinion as a very serious health problem; a disease process. In most cases, the underlying cause is genetic -- you inherit the tendency to gain weight, and once the problem is established, there is very little that "will power" can do about it -- any more than a diabetic might control his blood sugar by will power.
How do we know it's genetic?
Numerous scientific studies have established that there is a very powerful genetic predisposition to Morbid Obesity:
- Children adopted at birth show no correlation of their body weight with that of their adoptive parents, who feed them, and teach them how to eat. They show an 80% correlation of their body weight with their genetic parents, whom they have never even met.
- Identical twins, with the same genes, show a much higher similarity of body weights, than do fraternal twins, who have different genes.
- Certain genetic populations, such as the American Indians of the Southwest, have a very high incidence of severe obesity. They also have a markedly increased incidence of diabetes and heart disease.
- Mice can be bred, which are very obese (they look like little powder puffs). This is the result of a defect in a single gene, called the ob gene, which is associated with the ability to make a hormone, called leptin. The problem in humans is much more complicated genetically, with over 100 genes involved in some aspect of obesity.
- Another hormone has recently been discovered, called ghrelin, which stimulates appetite in normal persons. Persons who lose weight by dieting have persistently elevated ghrelin levels, urging them to eat more. Persons who undergo a gastric bypass have a decrease in ghrelin levels by about 77%, indicating one mechanism of how the operation reduces appetite.
How do you know if you are Morbidly Obese?
We use three criteria:
- Are you more than 100 lb over your "ideal body weight"? This is a weight established actuarially, at which you are likely to live the longest, not what you wish you could weigh - which is usually less.
- Another alternative criterion is called the Body Mass Index (BMI). If this is greater than 40, surgery should be considered. If it is greater than 35, and is accompanied by serious co-morbidity, surgery may be indicated. To find out your BMI see the BMI calculator at the bottom of the page.
- Do you have co-morbidities from being seriously overweight? We look for health effects that are known to be caused by, or aggravated by serious obesity. (See Health Effects of Serious Obesity).
- Have you tried dieting, especially medically-supervised dieting, and been unable to achieve a sustained healthy body weight? Everyone knows diets don't work in the morbidly obese, and there has actually never been a scientific study reported which shows that they do, but you should have at least tried it.
What can you do to regain your health?
- You could go on another diet. Unfortunately, although diets work for a little while, the effects seldom last, and the answer to Morbid Obesity really needs to last a lifetime. No diet program, even the drug programs are sufficiently powerful, or adequately long-lasting, to produce the necessary sustained weight loss in the severely obese. There has never been a scientific study which has shown that dietary management is beneficial or effective, over the long term, in the severely obese person.
- You could look at how much your health is at risk, and consider taking some risk now, to achieve a more lasting solution: surgery to change your body's physiology, and to help you to gain control of your weight.
In our opinion, surgery is the only effective way to achieve lasting weight control, and a healthy body weight.
A person who chooses surgery can reasonably anticipate loss of at least 50% of excess body weight (average loss is 80%), as well as improved health, and the chance to live life in a normal-sized body.
Generally, if you are or have:
a BMI that is greater than 40, surgery should be considered. If it is greater than 35, and is accompanied by a serious comorbidity, surgery may be medically necessary. To find out your BMI, use the BMI calculator below.
- comorbidities from being overweight? We look for health effects that are known to be caused by, or aggravated by serious obesity.
- tried dieting, especially medically-supervised dieting, and been unable to achieve a sustained healthy body weight.
This is not an official medical calculation. For an accurate B.M.I, please visit your doctor.
If your browser does not show the calculator above, try using this body mass index table by the CDC to determine your BMI.
How to Approximate Your Frame Size
- Bend your forearm up to a 90 degree angle. Your arm should be parallel to your body.
- Keep your fingers straight and turn the inside of your wrist towards the body.
- Using your other hand, place your thumb and index finger on the two prominent bones (on either side) of the elbow.
- Measure the distance between the bones with a tape measure or calipers.
- Compare with the tables listing elbow measurements for medium-framed men or women.
- Compare to the chart below. The chart lists elbow measurements for a medium frame - if your elbow measurement for that particular height is less than the number of inches listed, you are a small frame - if your elbow measurement for that particular height is more than the number of inches listed, your are a large frame.
Elbow Measurements For Medium Frame
|Height in 1" heels||Elbow||Height in 1" heels||Elbow|
|5'2"-5'3"||2 1/2"-2 7/8"||4'10"-4'11"||2 1/4"-2 1/2"|
|5'4"-5'7"||2 5/8"-2 7/8"||5'0"-5'3"||2 1/4"-2 1/2"|
|5'8"-5'11"||2 3/4"-3"||5'4"-5'7"||2 3/8"-2 5/8"|
|6'0"-6'3"||2 3/4"-3 1/8"||5'8"-5'11"||2 3/8"-2 5/8"|
|6'4"||2 7/8"-3 1/4"||6'0"||2 1/2"-2 3/4"|
Quick Reference to Find Your Frame Size.
Keep in mind that this is a far less accurate measurement method.
To calculate your frame type place your thumb and index finger around your wrist. If your finger overlaps the thumb, your frame is a "Small Frame". If they touch, your frame is a "Medium Frame". If they do not touch, your frame is a "Large Frame".
Height and Weight Table for Women
|Weights at ages 25-59 based on lowest mortality. Weight in pounds according to frame (in indoor clothing weighing 3 lbs.; shoes with 1" heels)|
Height and Weight Table for Men
|Weights at ages 25-59 based on lowest mortality. Weight in pounds according to frame (in indoor clothing weighing 5 lbs.; shoes with 1" heels)|
Being underweight or overweight are recognized risk factors for many diseases, namely hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemias, and perhaps certain types of cancers.
Remember, these are statistical averages and not absolutes. If you are very muscular, the chart will be inaccurate for you, the same applies to the BMI calculator.