What is Severe or Morbid Obesity?

An individual is morbidly obese if he or she is 100 pounds or more overweight or has a body mass index of 40 or more. The term morbid means unhealthy or diseased. Excess weight has many negative effects on a person's health. Morbid obesity may cause or accelerate the development of diabetes, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes, lung disease, arthritis, various types of hernias, gall stones, varicose veins and phlebitis, skin conditions, infertility, and injuries. Morbid obesity may increase the rate of complications in pregnancy, surgery, and injuries, and the incidence of certain cancers in women (breast and endometrium). Morbid obesity may also lead to sleep apnea and Pickwickian syndrome. In a study of several hundred men at the Veterans Hospital in Los Angeles, it was found that in morbidly obese men between the ages of 25 and 34, the risk of death was 12 times greater than their normal weight peers. The same study has not been performed on women, although similar results would be expected.