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What is Obesity?

When looking at bariatric surgery options, it’s important to understand what obesity is and why we, as obesity surgeons, are treating it.

Defining Obesity

Although most people have a general understanding that being obese means being significantly overweight, the actual definition of obesity is more complex. Currently, the measure most commonly used is BMI. BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and is a number that’s found by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters, squared. When patients visit our NYC offices, we help them calculate their BMI. Alternatively, you can use our BMI calculator here to easily find your own BMI.


BMI Range Official Designation
Under 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Ideal weight
25 – 29.9 Overweight
30 – 34.9 Obese
35 – 39.9 Severely Obese
40 – 49.9 Morbidly Obese
50+ Super Obese

Morbid obesity is a phrase you will hear when learning about obesity treatment options. The typical definition of morbid obesity is an adult with a BMI over 40, or a BMI over 35 if they have a related health condition. These health conditions, known as comorbidities, add to the difficulties of living with of obesity. They can include high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, GERD, Type 2 diabetes, and osteoarthritis.


Problems with BMI

BMI is not an ideal measure of obesity for several reasons. It does not take into account factors like muscle vs. fat, and it does not reflect the importance of different types of fat within the body. Despite the limitations of BMI, it is the currently accepted measurement, and the one used by insurance companies when they make decisions about weight loss surgery coverage.

A more specific type obesity you may hear about is called abdominal obesity. The amount of fat someone carries around their waist is particularly important because studies have linked this type of obesity with more serious health complications. When looking at abdominal obesity, the general standard is a woman with a waist circumference of more than 35 inches, and a man with a waist circumference of more than 40 inches. While measuring abdominal obesity does not replace BMI, it is an additional number that bariatric surgeons can consider when recommending appropriate options for obesity treatment.



Obesity as a Disease

In 2013 the American Medical Association (AMA) officially recognized that obesity is a disease. This decision was met with some controversy, but indicates the importance of working to appropriately prevent and treat obesity. Health care professionals who treat obesity were generally pleased with this decision, and hoped it would lead to an increase in primary care physicians addressing obesity with the level of seriousness and compassion it deserves. In the long run, this categorization as a disease may lead to improved insurance coverage for the treatment of obesity before it leads to substantial health conditions.

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Treating Obesity

It is incredibly difficult to lose a substantial amount of weight with diet and exercise alone. Even when people do lose weight, the majority of the time that weight comes back. This is not reflective of a lack of willpower, but instead reflects the biological and environmental barriers to maintaining weight loss. Fortunately, much has evolved in the treatment of obesity over the last few decades. Today we have procedures such as the lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass as well as even newer devices and treatment options like the Orbera, Obalon, and ReShape balloons.

According to an article by the Harvard School of Public Health, “obesity diminishes almost every aspect of health, from reproductive and respiratory function to memory and mood. Obesity increases the risk of several debilitating and deadly diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.” At New York Bariatric Group we treat obesity with minimally invasive surgery and advanced non-surgical options because we know the toll that obesity can take on a person’s life.

Getting Started

Our team is happy to speak with you and help you understand any of the treatments we offer, or answer any questions you have. Please call and speak with us at 800-633-8446, or read more about the surgical and non-surgical options we offer here.

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What our patients are saying

“The staff and doctors at the New York Bariatric Group are amazing! They are always patient, helpful, and very understanding and pro-active with questions, problems, etc. After Lap Band surgery I feel fantastic. For the last 6 years I have not had to worry if my clothes would fit. I have been able to maintain my weight loss, and have so much more energy.”

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"Dr. Holover has a great personality, I love him, I consider him a good friend, and I recommend him to everyone. He and his staff are amazing. I thought my recovery would be worse, but it wasn’t. It was great. After a couple of days I was back on my feet and going, with three boys you don’t have time to be down. Now, my kids have to keep up with me!"

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"My results are incredible; I can go to any store and find clothes that fit, I don’t have to go to the big and tall store anymore. My family and friends say I look great, but more so are so happy about my health. Definitely go for it, it is well worth it."

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"My recovery was very easy, I started moving around pretty quick because the nurses had me up and about. Dr. Angstadt has a great bedside manner, a cheerful disposition and is very knowledgeable. He was genuinely concerned for me, he answered all of my questions and put me at ease. I couldn’t be happier, I think it is the best decision I ever made."

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"I was concerned about my health, my blood pressure, cholesterol, my mobility, my flexibility. A few friends told me about NYBG and I went to a seminar. I wanted to live a healthier life and live a long life. My recovery was great, after a week I was 100%. My doctor, Dr. Sekhar, has the best personality in the world."

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"I had a couple of friends who had bariatric surgery done by Dr. Garber a few years back and I decided to make the appointment. My favorite thing about the surgery is not being able to eat that much, eating whatever I want but in smaller portions. My results are amazing"

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*Individual results may vary.

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