The Department of Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism at the Cleveland Clinic offers a comprehensive medical weight management program to help overweight individuals choose the best medical weight loss plan to assist them in losing weight as well as helping them live a healthier life. Weight loss and maintenance can be challenging but the plans are tailored the each person’s individual needs. Our program includes medical weight management, nutritional therapy, behavioral modification and psychological support as well as bariatric surgery.

Obesity is a condition that affects nearly one-third of the adult American population (approximately 60 million). The number of Americans with overweight/obesity has increased since 1960, a trend that is not slowing down. Today, 64.5% of adult Americans (about 127 million) have overweight/obesity. Each year, obesity causes at least 300,000 excess deaths in the U.S., and healthcare costs of American adults with obesity amount to approximately $100 billion.

What is obesity?

Obesity is a complex, multi-factorial chronic disease involving:

  • Environmental factors (social and cultural). The tendency toward obesity is a result of our environment: lack of physical activity along with high-calorie, low-cost foods. Home, work, school and even the community can inhibit a healthy lifestyle.
  • Genetic factors(hereditary plays a large role in determining how susceptible people are to developing overweight/obesity). Genes also influence how your body burns calories for energy and stores fat.
  • Physiologic, metabolic, behavioral (eating too many calories while not getting enough exercise) and psychological components. It is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. Behavioral changes brought on by economic development, modernization and urbanization have been linked to the rise in global obesity.

Environmental factors are the main factors to overweight and obesity but at the same time are they provide the greatest opportunities for prevention and treatment.

Calculating BMI

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement tool used to determine excess body weight. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 or more, obesity is 30 or more, and severe obesity is 40 or more. You can visit to estimate your BMI.

The morbidity and mortality risk from being overweight is proportional to its degree. Individuals with morbid obesity, therefore, have the highest risk for developing numerous illnesses that often reduce mobility and quality of life due to their excess weight. In particular, type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease and osteoarthritis have been found to increase concurrently with higher BMI. Premature death, a 20-year shorter life span, has also been found in individuals with Class III obesity. All of the systems that make the body function are affected by Class III obesity.

  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones.
  • Liver disease.
  • Osteoarthritis, a disease in which the joints deteriorate. This is possibly the result of excess weight on the joints.
  • Gout, another disease affecting the joints.
  • Pulmonary (breathing) problems, including sleep apnea in which a person can stop breathing for a short time during sleep.
  • Reproductive problems, including menstrual irregularities and infertility.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux/heartburn.
  • Hypertension.
  • Heart Disease.
  • Depression.
  • Psychological conditions/social impairments.
  • Urinary stress incontinence.
  • Obesity is also linked to higher rates of certain types of cancer. Men with obesity are more likely than men without obesity to die from cancer of the colon, rectum, or prostate. Women with obesity are more likely than women without obesity to die from cancer of the gallbladder, breast, uterus, cervix or ovaries.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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