Overweight problems, including obesity and even morbid obesity are at epidemic proportions in the United States and the world. The World Health Organization has estimated that there are more than 1 billion overweight adults in the world, and there are at least 300 million clinically obese people. The health and economy of millions of people worldwide is being threatened by the obesity epidemic. In the United States alone, nearly 100 million adults are overweight or obese. That is over half of the American adult population. There are 15 million people who are severely overweight or obese and there are over 10 million Americans are more than 100 pounds over their ideal bodyweight. It should be startling to learn that millions of Americans fall into the category of clinically severe obesity, or morbid obesity. This group is typically more than 100 pounds overweight and with a body mass index or BMI of 40 or higher.
Severe or morbid obesity affects about three times as many women as men. It is much more than an individual problem in the US. It is estimated that in 2003, $117 billion were spent dealing with overweight issues. In 1999, the Surgeon General of the United States estimated that over 300,000 people died prematurely from overweight, obesity related complications.
The worst clinical condition of being overweight is called, clinically severe morbid obesity, and is defined as people who are greater than 100 pounds over their ideal body weight for their height. Medical and conservative therapies such as dieting, behavior modification or drugs appear not to have a long term effect in this obese population. In this subset of severe or morbid obesity, surgical options should be considered.