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What Is Obesity?

Obesity is a medical condition in which your body stores too much fat, causing serious health problems. It’s not the same as being overweight, which means you weigh too much – including bone, muscle, fat or water. However, both conditions indicate that body weight is more than what is ideal for your height.

Obesity can have genetic or environmental causes. Lifestyle habits and diet or nutritional imbalances play a role. Obesity occurs over time when you eat more calories than you burn. Eating high-fat foods and inactivity contribute to this condition.

If you’re obese, you have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Losing 5 to 10 percent or more of your weight can prevent or delay many serious conditions.  


Experts measure obesity symptoms by body weight and body mass index (BMI):

  • 20 percent or more over ideal body weight

  • BMI of 30 or more

Morbid Obesity

Morbid obesity is a dangerous condition associated with medical problems leading to disability and early death. Indicators include:

  • At least 100 pounds over ideal weight

  • BMI of 40 or higher

Treatment Options

Obesity treatment usually includes diet and nutrition counseling, lifestyle changes and exercise. In some cases, medication and bariatric weight-loss surgery are options. This requires working with a specialist for long-term motivation and success.

You may consider Bariatric surgery if: 

  • Your BMI is 40 or greater.

  • You have a BMI of 35 to 39.9 and you have two or more health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea or heart disease.

  • Traditional methods such as diet and exercise fail.

Temple Health surgeons do some procedures laparoscopically, which results in faster recovery, lower risk of complications and less scarring.

  • Laparoscopic gastric bypass – This surgically reduces your stomach and bypasses food around part of your stomach. It limits how much food you can eat and how many calories you absorb.

  • Sleeve gastrectomy – This reduces stomach capacity by dividing your stomach vertically, leaving a long sleeve.  

Temple Health has a dedicated Bariatric Surgery Program. It includes advanced equipment and sophisticated rooms designed for bariatric procedures.

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If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of obesity, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

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