Obesity is a complex condition with genetic, environmental, cultural and psychological causes, that cannot be blamed on a simple lack of willpower.


In the U.S., obesity affects one in five individuals in the general population. Diets alone rarely, if ever, produce lasting weight loss results for obese individuals.

Obesity is now the second-leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. An estimated 300,000 people a year die from obesity and obesity-related disease.

Obesity-Related Illness

Extremely obese people have a shorter lifespan than non-obese people. Medical conditions associated with obesity include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Several types of cancer
  • Psychological effects, including shame, guilt and depression

What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?

Surgical treatment for obesity is not for everyone who is overweight. It is usually reserved for people who have so-called "severe obesity." A tool called body mass index (BMI) is used to measure the level of obesity.

BMI takes both height and weight into account, giving a more accurate picture of body size than weight alone.

  • Underweight = BMI less than 18.5
  • Normal weight = BMI between 18.5 and 24.9
  • Overweight = BMI between 25 and 29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
    • Class I Obesity = BMI of 30 to 35
    • Class II Obesity = BMI of 35 to 40
    • Class III Obesity = BMI above 40

Calculate my BMI

We use BMI to help us decide if someone might benefit from weight loss surgery. Surgery is not usually performed on someone with a BMI of less than 40, though there are exceptions.

A Drastic Way to Lose Weight?

Losing weight can help improve and even eliminate some obesity-related conditions. For seriously obese patients who have been unsuccessful in non-surgical weight loss methods, weight loss surgery may be a life-saving intervention — for many patients, the risks of remaining obese are more significant than the risks of complications from surgery.

The decision to have a weight loss surgery (WLS) procedure should be made carefully, with:

  • A full understanding of the risks and benefits of the procedure
  • Knowledge of and willingness to accept the lifestyle changes imposed by the procedure
  • A commitment to life-long follow-up with the bariatric team

It is strongly recommended that you speak with others who have had a similar operation, research the issues on your own, and attend an information session prior to your initial appointment.

Weight Loss Surgical Options  Information Sessions