Facts About Obesity

Obesity is recognized as a chronic, progressive disease of weight regulation that leads to unwanted weight gain and the inability to maintain significant weight loss even when reasonable attempts at lifestyle improvement are made.

Scientific research over the past 75 years has helped us recognize that being overweight or obese is not simply the result of a lack of self-control or willpower. Like many chronic diseases, obesity is the result of multiple environmental and genetic factors. The choices that we make with diet and activity can influence obesity, but like all other chronic diseases, any therapeutic approach must be lifelong.

Obesity has steadily increased since the 1960s, and now more than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Obesity is a leading cause of preventative death among American adults. People with obesity are at increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, acid reflux disease, fatty liver disease, asthma, hernias, gallbladder disease, stress urinary incontinence, joint and back pain, infertility and certain cancers.

Obesity is difficult to treat. Most people with obesity have tried dozens of weight loss diets or medications but have been unable to maintain the weight loss. When other medically supervised weight loss efforts have failed, metabolic bariatric surgery combined with permanent lifestyle changes can offer a sustainable option.

Why is Obesity Progressive?

When a person gains weight, they experience complex shifts in their hormonal, molecular, and metabolic function that reduce the body’s ability to burn fat for energy, increase the conversion of glucose to fat, and increase the body’s capacity to store fat. That means that more of the calories consumed are stored as fat. Additionally, obesity affects appetite and hunger regulators in a way that can lead to increased appetite. And, as a person gains weight, it becomes more difficult to remain active. Reduced mobility results in burning fewer calories during the day.