Morbid obesity; Fat - obese
Obesity means having too much body fat. It is not the same as being overweight, which means weighing too much. A person may be overweight from extra muscle, bone, or water, as well as from having too much fat.
Both terms mean that a person's weight is higher than what is thought to be healthy for his or her height.
Taking in more calories than you burn can lead to obesity because the body stores unused calories as fat. Obesity can be caused by:
Many obese people who lose large amounts of weight and gain it back think it is their fault. They blame themselves for not having the willpower to keep the weight off. Many people regain more weight than they lost.
Today, we know that biology is a big reason why some people cannot keep the weight off. Some people who live in the same place and eat the same foods become obese, while others do not. Our bodies have a complex system to help keep our weight at a healthy level. In some people, this system does not work normally.
Other factors that affect weight include:
Click here to see a video on childhood obesity.
The term "eating disorder" means a group of medical conditions that have an unhealthy focus on eating, dieting, losing or gaining weight, and body image. A person may be obese, follow an unhealthy diet, and have an eating disorder all at the same time.
Sometimes, medical problems or treatments cause weight gain, including:
Other things that can cause weight gain are:
Garb J, Welch G, Zagarins S, Kuhn J, Romanelli J. Bariatric surgery for the treatment of morbid obesity: a meta-analysis of weight loss outcomes for laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding an dlaparoscopic gastric bypass. Obes Surg. 2009;19:1447-1455.
Sacks FM, Bray GA, Carey VJ, Smith SR, Ryan DH, Anton SD, et al. Comparison of weight-loss diets with different compositions of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:859-873.
Dale KS, McAuley KA, Taylor RW, Williams SM, Farmer VL, Hansen P, et al. Determining optimal approaches for weight maintenance: a randomized controlled trial. CMAJ. 2009;180:E39-E46.
United States Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Accessed June 5, 2011.
Richards WO, Schirmer BD. Morbid obesity. In: Townsend CM Jr., Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 17.
Seagle HM, Strain GW, Makris A, Reeves RS; American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: weight management. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:330-346.
Svetke LP, Stevens VJ, Brantley PJ, et al. Comparison of strategies for sustaining weight loss: the weight loss maintenance randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2008;299:1139-1148.
Kaplan LM, Klein S, Boden G, et al. Report of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute Obesity Task Force. Gastroenterology. 2007;132:2272-2275.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885