What is Obesity?

The term “morbid obesity” is used to describe severe, abnormal and debilitating obesity.  Individuals suffering with this condition are prone to develop different medical problems through their lives.  The life expectancy of severely obese people is decreased by 10 to 15 years, mainly because of increased incidence of heart attacks, strokes, hypertension and diabetes.  Severely obese people also tend to develop severe arthritis in the joints of ankles, knees, hips and lower spine, due to excessive weight bearing.  Self-image is poor, and depression may result.

The most widely used method to assess a person’s weight is the body mass index (BMI), which is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared.

If your BMI is:

  • between 25 and 29, you would be considered overweight
  • between 30 and 40, you would be considered obese
  • over 40, you would be considered morbidly obese

Another useful method is to measure around your waist. Men whose waist measurement is 94 cm or more and women whose waist measurement is 80 cm or more are more likely to develop obesity-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.