Though we all use the terms “fat” and “obese” casually in conversation, there is a medical definition of the condition—and yes, obesity is considered a health “condition.”
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a person is considered “obese” when he or she weighs 20 percent or more than his or her ideal body weight. At that point, the person’s weight poses a real health risk. Obesity becomes “morbid” when it significantly increases the risk of one or more obesity-related health conditions or serious diseases (also known as co-morbidities). Morbid obesity—sometimes called “clinically severe obesity”—is defined as being 100 lbs. or more over ideal body weight or having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher.
According to the NIH Consensus Report, morbid obesity is a serious chronic disease, meaning that its symptoms build slowly over an extended period of time. Today 97 million Americans, more than one-third of the adult population, are overweight or obese. An estimated 5-10 million of those are considered morbidly obese.