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Obesity versus Morbid Obesity

Obesity means having too much body fat and is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30. The BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. To measure your BMI, click here.

Obesity increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis and some cancers. Losing even 5 to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases.

Morbid obesity, which is also termed “clinically severe obesity,” is typically defined as having a BMI of 35 or higher. According to the Centers for Disease
Control, over 70 million Americans are obese and in Tennessee over 1/3 of the
population is obese. In 2008, the medical costs of obesity care exceeded $140 billion;
costs for obese individuals were over $1400 higher than those of normal weight*.   Obesity becomes “morbid” when it reaches the point of significantly increasing the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions or serious diseases – also known as co-morbidities – that result either in significant physical disability or even death.

According to the National Institutes of Health Consensus Report, morbid obesity is a serious disease and must be treated as such. It is a chronic disease, meaning that its symptoms build slowly over an extended period of time and therefore requires lifelong
treatment.

*Ogden, CL, et.al, Prevalence of Obesity in the United States, 2009-2010, NCHS Data Brief 2012; Jan: 1-8