Class IV obesity has been added by many weight loss surgeons, as people with this class have increased risk from their heaviness.  Some studies have added that a BMI of greater than 60 kg/m² represents a special class of “Super Morbid Obesity” that has greater surgical and other risks.

If you get the hint that the “morbid” part of morbid obesity means that fat is more than just a cosmetic problem, you are correct.  People are not like ice cream— ice cream tastes better with a high fat content, the same with steaks—we like a well-marbled meat.  People do not do well with a higher fat content—although I have not checked with my local cannibal friends.  There are lots of diseases associated with being overweight, so there are lots of reasons to lose weight. It’s also probable that if you fit into the obese category, you will only lose weight, and keep it off, with weight loss surgery.

Being overweight shortens your life – eating less results in a longer life

You just are not going to find a lot of old folks who could stand to lose 80 pounds or more—old is a relative term.  I suspect we all feel that “old” is anyone ten years older than we are, but let us define old as 85 years or greater.  Many scientific studies show rats live longer when their calories are limited.  I live in a in a citrus grove in Arizona, and when “roof rats” started to overrun the neighborhood, the city officials wanted to pick all the citrus and starve them.  I said, “Let the little buggers gorge themselves.  It will be much easier for the cats to get them.”  Seriously, if you overfeed almost any animal, that animal will have a shorter life span.  Does this apply to humans?  Again—have you seen any 85 year olds lately who needs to lose 80 pounds or more?  I haven’t.

Which is worse, cigarettes or being fat?

package of cigarettes asstrayMany other things that are bad for you don’t necessarily shorten your life span.  Your average smoker, while puffing away on his second pack, will tell you how Aunt Mabel lived to be 100 years old even though she smoked a couple packs a day.  You will also hear how Uncle George drank a fifth of scotch after drinking a case of beer and died in his 90’s.  Then there are those aging rock stars who continue to support heroine habits and party heartily while still going on tour.  But guess what?  None was overweight—at least not enough to fit into the morbid class.  It is easy to find someone who managed to escape the ravages of obvious tobacco, alcohol, or drug abuse, or who lived in a toxic waste dump, and yet no family members, other than their two headed turtle, suffered ill effects.  But obesity is another matter—the body isn’t built for that kind of abuse.  So, in terms of lengthening your life, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to be thin.  On the other hand, if you want to live a short life— gain 80 pounds.  Maybe I should send my mother-in-law some more chocolates?

Why is morbid obesity such a problem?  Wow, what a great question.  The answer is that almost every organ, every muscle in your body, can become invested with fat, and a lot of diseases are associated with this extra fat.  Here is a list of some of those diseases and their relationship to being overweight.

Obesity related disease that can limit your life

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Sleep apnea (narcolepsy)
  • Elevated blood levels of cholesterol and/or lipids