Bariatric surgery is about more than improving physical appearance. It's also about improving overall health.

The Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery team understands that, for many people, the decision to have weight-loss surgery can be a difficult one. That's why we're committed to providing prospective and current patients with all the information they need to make informed choices.

Clinically severe (morbid) obesity is a chronic disease that can cause a host of health problems and shorten a person's life. Bariatric surgery offers a way to sustain weight loss and improve obesity-related medical conditions.

Here are some facts about obesity and weight loss in America.

  • The normal amount of body fat is between 25 to 30 percent in women and 18 to 23 percent in men. Women with more than 30 percent body fat and men with more than 25 percent body fat are considered obese.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of U.S. adults — over 72 million — are obese.
  • Morbid obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 40, which equates to approximately 100 pounds overweight for men and 80 pounds for women.
  • Severely obese women may experience infertility and pregnancy problems, polycystic ovary syndrome and sexual dysfunction.
  • In the United States, roughly 300,000 deaths per year are directly related to obesity, and more than 80 percent of these deaths are in patients with a BMI over 30. For patients with a BMI over 40, life expectancy is reduced by as much as 20 years for men and 5 years for women.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of U.S. children are obese.
  • The most common causes of obesity are overeating and physical inactivity. Other factors that can contribute to obesity include:
    • Genetics (such as leptin deficiency)
    • Slow metabolism
    • Medications
    • Psychological factors
    • Diseases (hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome)
    • Ethnicity
    • Childhood weight
  • A modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent and long–term maintenance of that weight loss can bring significant health gains including:
    • Lowered blood pressure
    • Reduced cholesterol levels
    • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
    • Decreased chance of stroke
    • Decreased complications of heart disease
    • Decreased overall mortality
Obesity has been linked to a number of health conditions including:
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stroke, heart attack and congestive heart failure
  • Osteoarthritis
All of these conditions can affect the quality of life and, in some cases, shorten it.
Share This Page: