Daniel Farkas, M.D., F.A.C.S.

General Surgery
Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery
Bariatric Surgery

1650 Selwyn Ave, #4E Bronx, NY 10457

718-960-1243


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Obesity is a problem that is becoming more and more prevalent in the United States. More than 60% of Americans are overweight. That’s over 100 million people!

How do we determine who is considered overweight, or obese? We can’t use a simple weight cutoff, since obviously people of different heights can be expected to have different weights. (For example, a 6 foot man weighing 180 pounds would be considered normal weight, while a 5 foot woman weighing the same would be considered obese.) For this reason, the Body Mass Index (BMI) was created. This is a formula that uses one’s weight and height to come up with a number. The number is obtained by converting one’s height to meters, and dividing this by the square of one’s weight in kilograms. That sounds kind of complicated, and so luckily, there are a lot of online calculators. (If that link doesn't work, you can try this one at the National Institutes of Health. Alternatively, you can look up your BMI on this table.)

Once a BMI is calculated, the following categories are used:

20 - 24.9 Normal Weight
25 - 29.9 Overweight
30 - 39.9

Obese *

40 and over Morbidly Obese

* One exception is that a BMI of 35 and over, with an associated medical problem (see later), is considered morbidly obese.


The problem with obesity is that it is associated with many medical problems. The following problems all are associated with obesity:

  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Asthma
  • Gallstones
  • Arthritis
  • Infertility
  • Stress Incontinence
  • Psychiatric Disorders (e.g. depression)
  • Certain Cancers (Uterus, Cervix, Prostate, others)

The end result of this is that obese patients have increased mortality rates. In fact, obesity is considered responsible for 300,000 deaths a year in the United States alone.

In addition to the quantifiable medical problems, there are also quality of life issues. People with morbid obesity have severe limitations in the activities they can do, and the jobs they can get. There’s also the social stigmatization. So obesity can affect one’s life in many different ways.

 

 

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