Am I Obese? Am I Overweight?


What is Obesity?

Obesity is a chronic, debilitating and potentially fatal disease that requires treatment by a physician trained in bariatric medicine. It is marked by an excess accumulation of body fat sufficient to endanger health. The United States is currently suffering an obesity epidemic contributing to the premature death, sickness and suffering of millions of Americans.

Obesity results from a complex interaction of genetic, behavioral and environmental factors causing an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. According to the National Institutes of Health, an increase in body weight of 20 percent or more above desirable weight is the point at which excess weight becomes an established health hazard. Lower levels of excess weight can also constitute a health risk, particularly in the presence of other disorders like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

How prevalent is obesity?

Obesity is the most common disease in the US, affecting almost one in three adults. Over 72 million people -- were obese in 2005-2006. It causes 112,000 preventable deaths each year, secondary only to smoking. According to data from the latest government statistics, the number of Americans who are overweight is at the highest level ever recorded.

What are the latest government statistics on obesity in America?

According to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,

Should I be concerned about my health just because I am overweight or obese?

Yes you should. Being overweight or obese has been associated with increased risks of developing other medical conditions such as:

Research has shown that even a 5 to 10 percent loss of the initial body weight can greatly reduce health risks and improve general well being.

What are the psychological consequences of obesity and being overweight?

People who are obese struggle with psychological problems such as depression, low self esteem and anxiety. It leads to social and economic discrimination. It decreases employment opportunities and opportunities for marriage.

Why do people become overweight or obese?

People do not become obese because they lack willpower. Obesity is a complex problem. It involves genetic factors, lack of physical activity, increased caloric consumption, some metabolic abnormalities, appetite regulation problems, and eating disorders, emotional and cultural factors. Overeating, a diet high in simple carbohydrates, slow metabolism, certain medications, psychological factors, and some medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism and many other. Research suggests that overweight people seem to have more fat cells than normal weight individuals. When people gain weight fat cells increase in size until a maximum fat content per cell is achieved. Weight loss can occur if the fat content per cell is reduced.

What are emotional or psychological factors which predispose to obesity?

People may turn to food when their emotional needs are not being met. Food may become a substitute for love. For some people food may become a mood elevator and they eat even when they are not hungry to release stress.

Why 9 out of 10 dieters don’t succeed?

Vast majority of weight loss efforts fail due to limited understanding of appetite regulation and energy metabolism. One of the problems is what is known as “Yo-Yo” syndrome; the less you eat the more energy efficient the body becomes. In other words the metabolic rate declines (rate at which body burns calories). Fasting, semi starvation or rigorous dieting slows the metabolic rate. Suppression of the metabolic rate has also been observed in patients who miss meals. This may explain why dieting, alone, is not successful.

What should my weight be?

There is a rule of thumb formula used to determine one's Ideal Body Weight (IBW).

Ideal Body Weight (IBW)
100 lbs for the first 5 feet,
plus 5 lbs for each additional inch.
106 lbs for the first 5 feet,
plus 6 lbs for each additional inch.

What is Body Mass Index or BMI?

BMI stands for “body mass index.” It is calculated by knowing a person’s height and weight. Specifically, it is a reliable measure of body fatness and is currently a screening tool for weight categories that may lead to health problems. Since there are some limitations to basing treatment solely on the BMI measurement, we go the extra step by offering our patients a complete body composition analysis that not only measures BMI but also will measure body fat %, fat mass, fat-free mass and more in a non-intrusive and convenient manner.

Body Mass Index or BMI is a measure of a person's weight in relation to his or her height:

Check your own BMI on our site: Are You at Risk? BMI Calculator

What is the "Metabolic Syndrome"?

The Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of clinical features that, by themselves, may not look all that ominous. But if you have them in combination, especially three or more, your risk for future heart attack and stroke becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

Abdominal FatIn Men, a 40-inch waist or greater;
In Women, greater than 34-inches.
High Blood SugarMore than 110 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) after fasting.
High TriglyceridesMore than 149 mg/dL after fasting.
Low HDL CholesterolLess than 40 mg/dL for Men; Less than 50 for Women.
Blood Pressure130/85 or higher.

What is the role of Surgery in the treatment of obesity?

The National Institutes of Health consensus has suggested the following guidelines for surgery in obese patients:

Can you recommend a bariatric surgeon if I decide to do weight loss surgery?

We refer several board certified surgeons who we recommend to our patient for bariatric surgery. These surgeons are very experienced, have very high success rates and very low rate of complications.