Morbid obesity is what occurs when a person’s body mass index exceeds a score of 40. This form of obesity brings with it far more serious health consequences than even moderate obesity. It also provides a unique set of challenges for care providers so that people can receive adequate health care that can prolong a life.
According to self-reported data, between 2000-2010, the prevalence of morbid obesity rose by 70% in the United States.
Obesity has even been classified as a disease by the American Medical Association, but that may be a good thing. It means that a diagnosis can open up specific treatment options that can help people battle this condition. Obesity is a unique challenge even to the individuals who are affected by it. In many ways, fighting obesity is like fighting any other form of substance abuse.
- The prevalence of a BMI score over 50 increased even faster in self-reported data than a BMI that was greater than 40.
- The BMI rates are at the highest average levels in the Hispanic and African American community in the history of tracking this health data.
- Although growth rates have slowed since 2005, it is estimated that over 15 million Americans have an actual BMI that is above 40.
- The percentage of the population that is believed to have morbid obesity: 6.6%.
- More than 67% of all adults today are considered to be at least overweight when their BMI is charted.
- There is a 40% chance that a child born today will develop Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lifetime.
- More than 1 in 6 children between the ages of 6-19 are considered to be obese and more than a third are overweight.
- The prevalence of clinically severe obesity continues to be increasing, although less rapidly in more recent years than prior to 2005.
- Clinically severe or morbid obesity (body mass index (BMI) >40 or 50 kg m(-2)) entails far more serious health consequences than moderate obesity for patients, and creates additional challenges for providers.
As lifestyles become more sedentary, eating habits have to change. Unfortunately that isn’t happening and the end result is the development of fat. Although some people do skew the scale because of muscle development instead of fat development, most people who are morbidly obese have too much body fat for proper health. This results in a wide variety of health issues that may include high blood pressure, heart disease, poor dental health, painful skin conditions, and blood sugar control problems. Even osteoarthritis can develop because of morbid obesity.
Who Does Morbid Obesity Affect?
- Weight issues affect more than 3 out of every 4 Hispanics and African Americans.
- The percentage of African Americans who have a BMI that classifies them as obese: 49.5%.
- Morbid obesity affects 13% of African Americans and about 5% of Caucasians and Hispanics.
- In comparison, only 11.6% of Asian Americans are classified as being overweight.
- Younger children below the age of 5 have a lower prevalence of obesity than older youth.
- In children, boys have have a greater chance of being obese than girls by more than 3%.
- Since the early 1960s, the prevalence of obesity among adults more than doubled, increasing from 13.4% to 35.7%.
Kids just aren’t as active today as they used to be and that translates to inactivity during their adult years. Add into the mix a number of jobs that are sedentary in nature, such as writing content for a website full time, and that simply increases the risks. What is encouraging, however, is that obesity prevalence has remained stable in almost every demographic since 1999, even though there are surges in weight. Hispanic and African American women are most at risk, and men as a whole have seen slight increases in the amount of overall obesity.
What Is Causing The Morbid Obesity Epidemic?
- Only 5% of Americans at most get 150 minutes of exercise every week that is at least 50% vigorous in intensity.
- Only 35% of girls in the 6-11 year old age bracket get the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
- As children get older, the amount of physical activity declines in every racial, gender, and age demographic.
- Only about 8% of kids between the ages of 12-15 receive the recommended amount of exercise each week, which is 60 minutes of play per day.
- The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008.
- The medical costs for someone who is obese is about $1,500 per year higher than for people who have a normal weight.
- People who have higher income levels are more likely to have morbid obesity than those at lower income levels.
Discussions about obesity always come back to two things: disposable income and a sedentary lifestyle. When money is of no object, most people will typically purchase foods that they like more often, which means higher fat, higher caloric content items. Because these foods aren’t very filling, more of them are eaten and that increases overall calorie counts for the week. In comparison, it takes the removal of about 3,500 calories for the average person to lose just one pound over the course of a week. It’s much easier to gain weight than it is to lose weight and with morbid obesity, when there is very little energy in the first place, the struggle is even greater. That’s why it is classified and should be treated as a chronic disease instead of a poor eating choice.
Is This Just An American Problem?
- For men in the UK, the prevalence of morbid obesity is just 1.7% for men and 3.1% for women.
- The rates of morbid obesity, though lower, have also doubled within the same time frame they doubled in the United States.
- There is a direct correlation in almost every demographic to educational levels and obesity.
With the risks of heart attack, stroke, and cancer dramatically higher with morbid obesity, the average lifespan of someone with this condition is up to 10 years less than someone of normal weight. That means the time to act in some way is now. Futures depend upon action.