Obesity Explained

Obesity is the excess accumulation of total body fat. The condition occurs when the caloric intake exceeds energy usage. It is a chronic condition that is emerging at an alarming rate throughout the world, posing a high risk of developing many life-threatening diseases.

Obesity is extremely common in our society and there are many problems that are either caused by, or worsened by, obesity. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, gallstones, heart disease and vascular disease. There are many different weight loss treatments available, one of which is surgery.

Body size can be measured by ‘Body Mass Index’ or BMI. BMI is calculated using height measured in meters and weight measured in kilograms, using the formula:

BMI = Weight (kg)/[ Height (m) ] 2

BMI Calculator

Click here to calculate your BMI.

If you want to compare your weight status to others, BMI is a great method of analysis.

BMI (Kg/m2)Classification
< 20Underweight
20 – 24.920 – 24.9
25 – 29.9Overweight
30 – 34.9Obese
35 – 39.935 – 39.9
40 – 49.9Morbidly Obese
≥ 50Super Obese

The initial treatment of choice for obesity is diet and exercise, which may be successful for some but is difficult to be successful and to continue long-term, particularly in the morbidly obese. There are meal replacement products but these are also often not long-term solutions. There have been some medications for treatment for obesity but these too are limited in their long-term use and success and can have unwanted side effects.

Currently, surgical therapy, as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to obesity, offers the only practical means of maintaining long-term weight loss and a reduction in obesity related health problemsand improving quality of life.

There are various obesity surgeries currently available, which differ in the techniques used, their potential early and late complications, levels of expected weight loss and requirements for follow up. These are:

These surgeries can almost always be performed by 'Keyhole Surgery'.

Health Risks of Obesity

Obesity is associated with major health risks such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Arthritis and other joint problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Gallbladder disorders
  • Cancers such as breast, uterine and colon cancers
  • Digestive disorders
  • Asthma and other breathing disorders
  • Fertility and pregnancy problems
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Shorter life expectancy compared to people of normal weight

Obesity influences your psychological and social well-being

  • Negative self-image
  • Social isolation and discrimination
  • Depression

Obesity affects your overall quality of life

  • Difficulty moving quickly affecting your normal day-to-day tasks
  • Experience breathlessness and tiredness more quickly
  • Difficulty in maintaining personal hygiene

Am I a Candidate

You may be a candidate for weight loss surgery if

  • You are older than 18 years of age
  • Your BMI is greater than 30kg/m2. Click here for our interactive BMI Calculator.
  • And you are prepared to change your diet and lifestyle but just need the added boost provided by surgery

In addition, most people who consider weight loss surgery have

  • Been unsuccessful with weight loss in the past or have lost weight in the past, but have had trouble keeping the weight off.
  • Excess weight to the point it is limiting the ability to exercise and live an active life
  • Excess weight to the point it is affecting the ability to live a happy and social life
  • Excess weight to the point it is affecting other medical problems. In this situation patients often state their general practitioner or physician wants them to lose weight.