Understanding Obesity

Obesity results from a combination of contributing factors that includes individual behavior and genetics. Behaviors would include dietary and physical activity patterns. Additional contributing factors in our society include: food and physical activity environment, education, and fast food marketing. Obesity is a serious concern because it is associated with depression, reduced quality of life, and the leading causes of death resulting from the comorbidities related to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

AtlantiCare uses a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention to determine BMI. The standardized BMI scale is a screening tool healthcare professionals refer to in assessing BMI weight status. Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. Obesity is a complex disease that can induce life threatening comorbidities if left untreated.


Adult Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness

BMI categories include:

  • Normal BMI: 19 to 24
  • Overweight BMI: 25 to 29
  • Obese BMI: 30 to 39
  • Extreme (Morbid) Obesity BMI: 40 to 49
  • Super Morbidly Obese BMI: 50+


Click here to calculate your BMI >

Those who are morbidly obese put themselves at greater risk for serious illnesses that jeopardize health. Qualified medical professionals can help guide and educate you towards weight loss options.


What Causes Morbid Obesity?


Medical research has proven morbid obesity is not simply caused by lack of willpower. While excess caloric intake and lack of exercise are key contributors, other factors are involved in this complex, chronic disease, including:

  • Genetics
  • Metabolism
  • Individual psychology and behavior
  • Social and cultural environment


Risk Factors Associated with Morbid Obesity

Medical conditions commonly resulting from untreated morbid obesity include:

  • Diabetes 
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart disease 
  • Stroke 
  • Certain cancers 
  • Depression
  • Degenerative arthritis.
  • High cholesterol/triglycerides
  • Stress incontinence 
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Menstrual irregularities and infertility
  • Premature death


What Options Do I Have?

Often, dieting and exercise alone cannot successfully treat morbid obesity. Therefore, an increasing number of people are choosing an alternative approach, morbid obesity surgery. AtlantiCare’s Center for Surgical Weight Loss & Wellness uses methods considered effective by the National Institutes of Health:

  • Medical Management Program
  • Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
  • Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass
  • Laparoscopic Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch
  • Laparoscopic Revisional Surgery


What Are the Qualifications for Weight Loss Surgery

While each candidate for morbid obesity surgery is considered individually, the following are general guidelines:

  • A BMI equal to, or greater than 35, up to 39.9, with one significant medical complication related to obesity (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, diabetes, osteoarthritis, gastroesophageal reflux/heart burn)
  • A body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater with no significant medical complications
  • Inability to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight for a sustained period of time