Millions of Americans struggle with their weight, but the battle to shed pounds can be especially desperate for people who are severely obese (at least 100 pounds overweight or twice their ideal weight). Their obesity puts them at risk for such life-threatening conditions as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, orthopedic problems, gall bladder disease and sleep apnea. The risk of developing these additional medical problems is proportional to the degree of obesity. In a prospective study of more than one million adults in the United States, Calle and associates reported increased mortality from all causes for moderately and severely obese men and women.
Obesity is a major healthcare problem in most developed countries. The prevalence of obesity in the United States has grown considerably during the 1990s, and the cost for management of bariatric disease and its co-existing complications has been estimated at 100 billion dollars annually. Severe obesity, sometimes known as “morbid obesity” is defined as being 100 lbs. or twice your ideal body weight according to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company height and weight tables. Three to five percent of the United States adult population has severe obesity.
Bariatric surgery is a term from the Greek words for “weight” and “treatment” There are many surgical options to promote weight loss and they are collectively called bar iatric surgery. The most common surgery performed in the US is the Roux-en-Y (gastric bypass). This is surgery that simultaneously seals off most of the stomach to decrease the amount of food one can eat, and rearranges the small intestine to reduce the calories the bodies can absorb.