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​What is Obesity?

Obesity, Severe Obesity and Morbid Obesity

Obesity results from an excessive accumulation of fat. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of 20 percent or more above your ideal body weight is the point at which excess weight becomes a health risk. Today 97 million Americans, more than one-third of the adult population, are overweight or obese. An estimated 5 to 10 million of those people are considered severely obese.

What is Severe or Morbid Obesity?

Obesity becomes severe (or morbid) when it significantly increases the risk of developing one or more obesity-related health conditions or serious diseases. Also known as co-morbidities, these health conditions can result in significant physical disability or even death. (The term "clinically severe obesity" is sometimes used to refer to morbid obesity.)

Severe or morbid obesity is typically defined as being 100 pounds or more over ideal body weight or having a body mass index (BMI) over 40. According to the NIH Consensus Report, morbid obesity is a serious chronic disease, meaning that its symptoms build slowly over an extended period of time.

Am I Severely Obese?

Learning if you are morbidly obese may inspire you to take the first step toward wellness. The information on this page can help you determine if you are morbidly obese and potentially a candidate for weight loss surgery.

You are likely morbidly obese if you:

  • Are more than 100 pounds over your ideal body weight
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) over 40
  • Have a BMI over 35 and are experiencing severe negative health effects, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, related to being severely overweight
  • Are unable to achieve a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time, even through medically supervised dieting

Take a moment to calculate your BMI.