General FAQs


Overview

Here are some of the general questions we are asked frequently:
1.  What is morbid obesity?

Morbid obesity is a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40 or more, which is roughly equal to 100 pounds or more over ideal body weight. The disease of morbid obesity interferes with basic physical functions such as breathing or walking. Long-term effects of the disease include shorter life expectancy, serious health consequences in the form of weight-related health problems (co-morbid conditions) such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and a lower quality of life with fewer economic and social opportunities.

2.  What causes morbid obesity?

The causes of morbid obesity are multiple and complex. Despite conventional wisdom, it is not simply a result of overeating. Research has shown that, in many cases, significant, underlying causes of morbid obesity are genetic, environmental, and social. Studies have demonstrated that, once the problem is established, efforts such as dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective long-term relief.

3.  What is a co-morbid condition?

There are two definitions for a co-morbid condition: the presence of one or more disorder or disease in addition to a primary disorder or disease; or, the presence of a disorder or disease that is caused by or otherwise related to another condition in the same patient. The primary disease of morbid obesity can lead to several co-morbid conditions.

4.  What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?

BMI is a measure used to index a person’s height and weight. BMI allows healthcare professionals and patients to better understand health issues associated with a specific weight classification (classifications such as obesity and morbid obesity).

5.  How effective is weight loss surgery compared to other treatment options?

The following table shows the three main treatment options for morbid obesity and their success rates over a 5-year period.

Treatment % Excess Body Weight Loss  
Medication1 0% - 7%
Footnotes:

  1. Weight loss is not maintained once treatment ends.

  2. Success is  measured as a loss of 10% of initial body weight.

  3. Success is measured as a loss of 50% of excess body weight (equivalent to loss of approximately 20% to 25% of initial body weight).
Diet and Exercise2 0% to 5%
Bariatric Surgery3 60% to 90%