Obesity essentially means an abnormal accumulation of fat in the body associated with increased risk of illness, disability and death.
Due to changes in socioeconomic conditions, changes in diet and increasing sedentary lifestyle, obesity has reached epidemic proportions in developed countries like USA. In India too obesity has increased exponentially; specially in urban areas.
Morbid obesity is an advanced state of obesity which is associated with life threatening and serious disorders like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnoea etc. It is associated with an increase in body weight which is at least two times the ideal body weight.
Studies have shown that sustained weight loss is very difficult to maintain with diet or exercise alone. The most successful method for achieving weight loss and maintaining it long term has been shown to be special surgery called bariatric surgery or surgery for obesity.
Anti obesity surgery not only results in consistent weight loss but also has additional benefits of either reducing the medication needed for associated diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, reflux disease, sleep apnoea etc or improving them to such an extent that there is no need for further medication.
Obesity is also defined and graded in more mathematical terms by an index called Body Mass Index or BMI.
BMI of a person = Weight in kilograms (KG) /(Height in meters)2
Due to the differences in the distribution of fat and muscle mass; the definitions of obesity and indications for surgery as per BMI differ in Asians (including Indians) and Caucasians.
Definitions in Indians (Asians)
Overweight: BMI > 23
Obese: BMI > 28
Indications for Bariatric ( Weight Loss) Surgery in Indians (Asians):
BMI > 37 without any co-morbidity like diabetes, hypertension, reflux disease etc
BMI > 32.5 with presence of a co-morbidity like diabetes, hypertension, reflux disease etc