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Obesity is most often defined as being 20% or more over ideal body weight based on the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Height/Weight Tables. It affects an estimated 34 million Americans and can have profoundly negative health and social consequences.

Morbid obesity, also referred to as clinical or severe obesity, is a condition in which the body accumulates excessive fatty tissue to the extent that the individual’s weight interferes with normal bodily functions and/or causes medical problems (such problems are called co-morbidities). Morbid obesity is considered a serious disease and has been linked to shortened life expectancy. It affects an estimated four million Americans and, according to former Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, is the second leading cause of preventable death in America. The medical community widely believes that morbid obesity is a chronic disorder, which involves genetics and poor nutrition and lifestyle choices.

Morbid obesity is most often determined by one of the following methods:

  • Being 100 lbs over your ideal body weight (as reported by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Height/Weight Tables)
  • Most commonly used, the Body Mass Index (BMI).

If you have:

  • A BMI less than 35 – may not be severe enough to warrant surgery
  • A BMI greater than 35 – may have co-morbid factors and surgery may be an alternative
  • A BMI greater than 40 – surgery should probably be considered

BMI Calculator








BMI Index Key

Less than 19: Minimal/Low (you may be below the safety minimum)
19-25: Minimal/Low
25-30: Increased/High
30-40: High/Very High
40 and up: Extremely High