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Bariatric Surgery

Obesity Problems Among Adults


In the past 20 years, adult obesity has doubled. Morbid obesity has now surpassed tobacco use as the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, making this disease a major public health crisis in our country with little sign of improvement.


The obesity epidemic continues to grow throughout the nation and the data is staggering:
Obesity is a life-threatening disease affecting 34 percent of adults in the U.S. Nearly 67 percent of adults in the U.S. are either overweight or obese.(1)
Between 2000 and 2005, obesity (BMI greater than 30) increased by 24 percent, morbid obesity (BMI greater than 40) increased by 50 percent and super obesity (BMI greater than 50) increased by 75 percent.(2)


Health Risks and Increased Risk of Mortality

Obesity is associated with 112,000 excess U.S. deaths each year (7); obese individuals have a 10 to 50 percent increased risk of death compared to individuals of healthy weight (8).

This increased mortality rate occurs due to the numerous obesity-related diseases such as:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Depression
  • GERD
  • Hypertension
  • Infertility
  • Joint pain
  • Liver disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stroke
  • Type II diabetes
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Venous stasis disease

For the vast majority of patients, these obesity-related conditions are either resolved or greatly reduced after bariatric surgery.

Published scientific reports show that non-operative methods alone have not been effective in achieving significant long-term weight loss in severely obese adults.

Costs Associated with Obesity

Obese individuals spend 36 percent more on healthcare costs and 77 percent more on medications per year than individuals of normal weight (9).
Bariatric surgery pays for itself within the first two years after surgery in terms of reduced healthcare costs.

Weight Classifications for Adults

Overweight: A person with a BMI of 25 to 29.9; 70 million adults are overweight in the U.S.
Obese: A person with a BMI of 30 to 39.9; 64 million adults are obese in the U.S.
Morbidly obese: A person with a BMI of 40 or more; 15 million adults are morbidly obese in the U.S.
Super morbidly obese: A person with a BMI of 50 or more; 50,000 adults are super morbidly obese in the U.S.

Psychological and Social Consequences of Obesity

  • Negative self-image
  • Social isolation
  • Discrimination
  • Low sex drive
  • Depression
  • Normal tasks become harder

(1) National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2008 With Chartbook Hyattsville, MD: 2009.
(2) R. Sturm, Increases in Morbid Obesity In the USA: 2000-2005. Public Health. Published July 2007. 121(7): 492-6. [Cited 23 April 2009].
(3) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Obesity Trends, 1985-2007. Updated 24 July 2008. [Cited 23 April 2009] Available From:
(4) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity. Overweight in Children and Adolescents. Updated June 2007. [Cited 23 April 2009].
(5) Desiree M. Seeyave, MBBS; Sharon Coleman, MPH; Danielle Appugliese, MPH; Robert F. Corwyn, PhD; Robert H. Bradley, PhD; Natalie S. Davidson, PhD; Niko Kaciroti, PhD; Julie C. Lumeng, MD. Ability to delay gratification at age 4 years and risk of overweight at age 11 years. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. Published 2009. 163(4):303-308.
(6) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Obesity - Halting the Epidemic by Making Health Easier At-A-Glance 2009. [Cited 23 April 2009]. Available from:
(7) Flegal KM, Graubard BI, Williamson DF and Gail MH. Excess Deaths Associated with Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2005; 293: 1861-1867.
(8) Weight-Control Information Network. National Institutes of Health. Statistics Related to Overweight and Obesity. Updated June 2007. [Cited 23 April 2009]. Available from: (9) R. Sturm. The Effects of Obesity, Smoking, and Drinking on Medical Problems and Costs. Health Affairs. Mar/Apr 2002: 245-253.



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