Obesity: A Disease
Obesity is emerging as a health epidemic around the world. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is rapidly spreading across all regions and demographic groups. An estimated 97 million adults in the United States are overweight or obese. That figure represents more than 50% of the American adult population. Of this group, 11 million adults suffer from severe obesity.
Obesity is an excess of total body fat, which results from caloric intake that exceeds energy usage. A measurement used to assess health risks of obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI).
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The American Obesity Association reports that obese individuals have a 50-100% increased risk of death as compared to normal weight individuals, with 300,000 to 587,000 deaths each. This substantial increase in health risks has made obesity the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity could be a combination of the following:
- The genes you inherited from your parents
- How well your body turns food into energy
- Your eating and exercising habits
- Your surroundings
- Psychological factors
Consequences of Obesity
If you are obese, severely obese, or morbidly obese, you may have:
Major health risks
- Shorter Life Expectancy
- Compared to people of normal weight, obese people have a 50% to 100% increased risk of dying prematurely
- Obese people have more risk for:
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Joint problems (e.g., arthritis)
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Gallbladder problems
- Certain types of cancer (breast, uterine, colon)
- Digestive disorders (e.g., gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GORD)
- Breathing difficulties (e.g., sleep apnea, asthma)
- Psychological problems such as depression
- Problems with fertility and pregnancy
- Urinary Incontinence
Risks to psychological and social well-being
- Negative self-image
- Social isolation
Difficulties with day-to-day living
- Normal tasks become harder when you are obese, as movement is more difficult
- You tend to tire more quickly and you find yourself short of breath
- Public transport seats, telephone booths, and cars may be too small for you
- You may find it difficult to maintain personal hygiene
Dieting, exercise, and medication have long been regarded as the conventional methods to achieve weight loss. Sometimes, these efforts are successful in the short term. However, for people who are morbidly obese, the results rarely last. For many, this can translate into what's called the "yo-yo syndrome," where patients continually gain and lose weight with the possibility of serious psychological and health consequences. Recent research reveals that conventional methods of weight loss generally fail to produce permanent weight loss. Several studies have shown that patients on diets, exercise programs, or medication are able to lose approximately 10% of their body weight but tend to regain two-thirds of it within one year, and almost all of it within five years**. Another study found that less than 5% of patients in weight loss programs were able to maintain their reduced weight after five years*.
Over the years, weight-loss surgery has proven to be a successful method for the treatment of morbid obesity#. Surgical options have continued to evolve and is pleased to be able to offer patients the BioEnterics® LAP-BAND® System surgery. This procedure is the least traumatic and the only adjustable and reversible obesity surgery available in the United States. The LAP-BAND System provides a unique tool that can help you achieve and maintain significant weight loss, improve your health, and enhance your quality of life.
** American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) / American College of Endocrinology. (ACE) Statement on the Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Obesity (1998 Revision). AACE/ACE Obesity Task Force. Endocr Pract. 1998; Vol. 4 No. 5: 297-330.
* Kramer FM et al. Long-term follow-up of behavioral treatment for obesity: patterns of weight regain among men and women. Int J Obes 1989; 13:123-136.
# SAGES/ASBS Guidelines for Laparoscopic and Conventional Surgical Treatment of Morbid Obesity. American Society for Bariatric Surgery. http://asbs.org/html/guidelines.html