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About Obesity

Obesity is a progressive, life-threatening disease of excess fat storage. This costly and genetically related health concern often is accompanied by other medical complications, called comorbidities, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.  In medicine, a patient is diagnosed as obese if his or her weight is greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. Patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater are considered obese. Today, 78.6 million Americans–more than one-third of the adult population–are overweight, obese or morbidly obese.

Morbid Obesity

Obesity becomes morbid when it significantly increases the risk of the patient developing one or more obesity-related health conditions or serious diseases that result either in significant physical disability or even death. Morbid obesity is typically defined as being 100 pounds or more over ideal body weight or having a Body Mass Index of 40 or greater. More than 60 medical conditions are directly affected by or related to obesity. An estimated 5 to 10 million Americans are morbidly obese.  Individuals who may be a candidate for surgery are those who are at least 75 pounds overweight with obesity related comorbidities and have tried other forms of weight loss or those who are 100 pounds overweight regardless of comorbidities.

The National Center for Health statistics has been tracking America’s obesity problem for over four decades:

  • Between 1962 and 2000, the number of obese Americans grew from 13 percent to 31 percent of the population.
  • 63 percent of Americans are overweight, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or greater. Another 31 percent are obese, with a BMI of 30 or greater.
  • The prevalence of childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past two decades in the United States.
  • Obesity is responsible for 300,000 deaths every year.

Obesity in Georgia

  • The prevalence of overweight people and obesity increased 60% between 1984 and 2002.
  • 59 percent of adult Georgians are overweight or obese.
  • Adult males are more likely than females to be overweight or obese.
  • Overweight or obese Georgians, on average, stay in the hospital 85 percent longer than healthy-weight individuals.
  • 9,780 Georgians die each year because of health complications that are weight related.
  • Georgia has the 14th highest rate of adult obesity in the nation, at 27.9 percent and the third highest of overweight youths (ages 10-17) at 37.3 percent.