I’m recently back from the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) annual meeting which was held in conjunction with The Obesity Society (TOS). I’m always inspired by new concepts and observations that are collectively made among my colleagues. I’d like to share a little of what I have learned through the next few blogs that I post.

Obesity in America. 2013. It’s reported that obesity in the U.S. has leveled off over the past few years. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) still estimates that 78 million Americans suffer from the disease of obesity. That’s 35% of our population. The ASMBS estimates that 24 million people suffer from morbid obesity. As of 2012, no states in the U.S. have an obesity rate lower than 20%; Colorado remains the lowest with an obesity rate of 20.5%. The CDC anticipates that obesity rates will continue to rise with an increase to 42% by the year 2013.

The medical community is starting to come alive about this issue. The American Medical Association (AMA) in June 2013 recognized for the first time that obesity is a chronic disease. This is now a position held by The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Medicare, Social Security, ASMBS, TOS, American Association for Clinical Endocrinology and many more. New recommendations for the treatment of obesity have just been released for the first time in 15 years by The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and TOS. (More on those in my next blog.)

With this increasing awareness, the risks of obesity are becoming better understood. Body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 is the definition of obesity. People with a BMI greater than 30 have an increased risk for premature death and are predisposed to 40 diseases and health conditions. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and obstructive sleep apnea are three major chronic diseases that improve or resolve with moderate weight loss. Obesity with a sedentary lifestyle leads to 25-33% of all cancers in the U.S. Obesity was associated with over 50,000 new cancer cases in women and over 34,000 in men in 2007, a number that is expected to continue to rise.

This is the state of obesity in 2013–a chronic disease that causes so many other medical conditions and cancers to occur. The good new is that there are safe and effective treatments, including weight-loss surgery which I will review in my next blog. If your BMI is over 30, now is a good time to start to research your treatment options. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to call our office (303-861-4505) or visit our website www.coloradobariatric.com.

Dr. Tom Brown
Colorado Bariatric Surgery Institute