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 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

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.

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 obesity. They can include high blood pressure, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, GERD, Type 2 diabetes, and osteoarthritis.

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Note: A BMI of 30 – 34.9 or BMI 35 – 39.9 with no comorbidities qualify for lap band but is usually not covered by insurance.

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 of 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.

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Important Obesity Facts

Learn about the facts of obesity from the nation's leaders in weight loss surgery - The New York Bariatric Group.

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 and Obalon 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.

Thomas

Lost 145lbs

Thomas' success story

I went in for surgery. An hour later, I came out a new man.

Everybody treated me like a king. The day of surgery, I was excited. The hospital couldn’t be any nicer. I went in for surgery. An hour later, I came out a new man. My recovery was awesome. I was out of bed that day. My wife and kids were my motivation on getting this surgery. They are my whole life. I’m happy I’m going to be around for them.

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Nicole

Lost 76lbs

Nicole's success story

I hit my goal weight ... and I feel fabulous

I had the gastric bypass. I am Type 2 Diabetic and I wanted to gain control of my sugar. I hit my goal weight in about 5 and half months and I feel fabulous. The procedure has completely changed my life for the better because it has empowered me as a middle aged woman that I can really do everything and anything that I want to do. I don't put an age on anything. I don't say I'm too old for something.

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Robert

Lost 76lbs

Robert's success story

I was tired of the way I looked. I was tired of the way I felt.

I knew if I didn't change something soon, I was going to be in a lot of trouble. The consultation process was a lot easier than I expected. I was met with open arms. I was treated like I was the only patient here. Not only did they answer all of my questions, they had questions for me to make sure I was the right candidate for the surgery. After surgery and that weight started dropping off, my life started changing for the better.

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Samantha

Lost 92lbs

Samantha's success story

I feel like a completely different person.

I had the gastric sleeve procedure. The driving factor behind me getting this procedure was my health. I didn't feel good physically or mentally. I had joint pains, even standing was difficult sometimes. Emotionally, this surgery completely turned my life around. I have so much more confidence. So much more happiness. I feel like a completely different person. I feel stronger. I feel able to accomplish more.

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Eileen

Lost 99lbs

Eileen's success story

It saved my life.

The driving factor behind me getting my procedure was that I couldn't get up off the floor with my granddaughter. That was my why. That was my big reason for having this surgery done. After surgery, it was a little bit of a struggle with what to eat. What you put in your mouth that you don't even think about. You don't think about what you're eating or how you're eating and portion size. It's what I do now every single day. The procedure has changed my life in so many ways. It saved my life.

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Brittany

Lost 126lbs

Brittany's success story

I am totally comfortable in my own skin.

I think I always grew up identifying myself as less than other people because I was fat. I decided to tackle that and just live my life. I had a sleeve gastrectomy. It changed how I view myself. How I communicate with people. I'm able to be much more of myself and live the life I always thought I should have been living. I am totally comfortable in my own skin. You have the tools you need to succeed here.

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Desiree

Lost 157lbs

Desiree's success story

I have a brand new life. I can do things I couldn't do before.

I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy because I had just become diabetic, and I had hypertension for many years. I lost a total of 157 pounds in 11 months. I have a brand new life. I can do things I couldn't do before. Everyone at New York Bariatric Group has been wonderful. They are kind. They are understanding. They make you feel comfortable. They will guide you every step of the way on your journey so that you can be successful.

Listen to Desiree’s testimonial
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Your BMI is

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Note: A BMI of 30 – 34.9 or BMI 35 – 39.9 with no comorbidities qualify for lap band but is usually not covered by insurance.

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