Obesity is quickly becoming the largest health epidemic in the United States. With the increasing portions of food at restaurants and the continued need for fast, cheap food, America has taken the lead for the most obese country in the world. Physicians are now beginning to recognize this problem as a disease. Therefore, it is critical to understand where you fall in regards to your weight and to know all of the options you have to get back onto a healthy lifestyle track.
To determine if someone is overweight, we use a calculation called Body Mass Index (BMI). This calculation is determined by taking the person's weight (in KG) and dividing it by their height (in meters) squared; otherwise seen as (kg/ht m2). Physicians use BMI to classify a person into weight categories, which can be seen below.
What bucket am I in?
Healthy: 19 - 26
Overweight: 26 - 30
Obese: 30 - 40
Morbidly obese: 40 - 60
Super Morbidly Obese: >60
When should I be concerned about my weight?
Anyone with a body mass index over 26, and especially over 30, should seek medical treatment for their weight. This is especially true when the individual has weight related medical problems such as hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, etc. When a person's BMI is in excess of 40, the patient becomes a candidate for surgical weight loss treatment options.
How does my weight impact my health?
We know that as an individual's weight increases, so does the risk of developing significant medical problems that can shorten a person's life as well as reduce the quality of life that a person enjoys. Fortunately, physicians are beginning to recognize that obesity is a disease that needs treatment like any other medical problem. The sad reality is that the disease of obesity directly or indirectly affects every part of our body, yet it has been under-treated by physicians for years.
Treating hypertension, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol might add a year or two to our lives—at best. Treating obesity, which will most likely result in substantial weight loss, can add more than 10 years of life expectancy and at the same time treat all of the weight related comorbidities that usually follow.Therefore, it is important to understand what weight category you fall into that way you can seek medical attention or even simply recognize the problem as soon as possible.
In future blog posts we will explain why weight gain occurs and explore more in-depth treatment options.