I could bore you with Greek or Latin derivatives—such as, morbid means death and obesity means fat, and you might conclude that it means death fat. That is a cute interpretation but also accurate. I can even assign figures to it—or I can tell you what a Supreme Court member said about pornography and apply it to morbid obesity—“I know it when I see it.”


We all know the upper end of being super overweight when we see it

A 500-pound person is hard not to notice.  However, not many of my Gastric Sleeve or Lap-band surgery patients weigh 500 pounds.  Most are between 200 and 300 pounds.  One question my weight loss surgery patients ask is, just how morbidly obese do they have to be to have a procedure?  We have a way of calculating your height-to-weight ratio.  It is called the body mass index.  If your height and weight reach a certain level, then you are eligible for weight loss surgery.  If your body mass index is over 40, you are eligible for weight loss surgery.  If it is over 35 and you have certain “co-morbidities,” you are eligible for weight loss surgery.

When am I seriously overweight?

Okay—finally, Dr. Simpson, give us something

Body Mass Index – both the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) endorse BMI (Body Mass Index) as the measurement of obesity.

The formula is: BMI = weight in kg / height in meters X height in meters.

Class of obesityBMI
Underweight < 18.5 kg/m²
Normal Range18.5 -24.9 kg/m²
Overweight25 – 30 kg/m²
Class 130 – 34.9 kg/m²
Class II (aka morbid obesity)35 – 39.9 kg/m²
Class III40 – 49.9 kg/m²
Class IV> 50 kg/m²

Body Mass Index Chart

HeightBMI 35BMI 40BMI 45BMI 50
4’ 10″167191215239
4’ 11″174198223248
5’ 0″179205230256
5’ 1″185212238265
5’ 2″191219246273
5’ 3″198226254282
5’ 4’”204233262291
5’ 5″211241271301
5’ 6″217248279310
5’ 7″224256288320
5’ 8″230263296329
5’ 9″237271305338
5’ 10″244279313348
5’ 11″251287322358
6’ 0″259295332369
6’ 1″265303341379
6’ 2″272311350389
6’ 3″280320360400
6’ 4″288329370411

People with a BMI >27

  • 56% have high blood pressure
  •  47% have elevated cholesterol in their blood
  •  70% have type 2 diabetes