MLazarevski  via Flickr

MLazarevski via Flickr

I distinctly remember an incident during my first year in family medicine residency when a moderately obese nurse practitioner contradicted one of my colleagues comments that obese people are unhealthy.

She made it a point to emphasize that we, as a new batch of young doctors need to  be careful not to discriminate and just assume that all obese patients have medical illnesses and went so far as to state, and I quote ” Obese people CAN be healthy.”

15 years later, I KNOW she was wrong-

I have yet to meet a “healthy” obese patient- this is simply a health oxymoron. We all collectively know as a society that obesity is unhealthy now, but do you know that MORBID obesity (Body Mass Index -BMI over 35) is called that since mortality rates increase significantly at that level of extra weight?

This formula which takes into account the height and weight has it’s limitations and does not apply to all, but it is the simplest and most used weight “vital sign” in general medicine.

In fact, if doctors don’t measure, document, treat and bill correctly for the obesity diagnosis, the reimbursement rates are lower. Medicare and insurance companies care about our weight since it directly ties into longevity and quality of life.

Here are the most common complications and direct causes of morbid obesity-

Increased risks for:

1. Diabetes

2. High blood pressure (Hypertension)

3. High cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)

4.  Obstructive sleep apnea

5.  Acid reflux (GERD) and other related digestive disorders

6. Early onset osteoarthritis of joints

7. Depression

8. Blood clots

9. Strokes

10. And almost every type of CANCER

So, don’t make another excuse or delay managing your weight- obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to extend and improve the quality of your life.

Adopt a cultural and lifestyle change like the Move More/Tone Up online fitness challenge and start a healthgist life!

Dancing women

P.S: The cost of the challenge is nominal when compared to the benefits you would get from it. But wait, there’s more!

We have eliminated the “I can’t afford it” excuse by offering other ways to get in. You can find out more about that HERE!

About the author

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Dr. Carol

Dr. Carol- doctor, wife, mom and maker PB&J!
One of my passions is to help people Embrace change, Try new things and be BOLD for a healthier and balanced life!


  • No, I can’t imagine that being obese is healthy in any way. It’s important that we take our health seriously (but not always easy).

    I agree completely with this…I get annoyed when people judge another human’s very existence if they are obese. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have SOME issues or insecurities or depression, etc to deal with…obese people just have their’s advertised and unfortunately, judged.

      • Let us get very serious about obesity. Left long standing even in the “healthy” obese the risk of cancer and heart disease are a given…..increased. Not to mention the unseen NAFLD. What is not talked about is the bias and attitude physicians and health care workers have towards the obese which makes this group as patients possibly avoid healthcare and adherence. Many in health care think all obesity is is lazy people who can’t control the “calories in/calories out” issue and ignore the complexities of weight gain/loss in the obese.
        Forget about “stones” let us all do our part to try to set things back on course from our food environment to our office practice. Ask a friend if their PMD asked them anything about nutrition for themselves as well as their families. Most likely none!!

        • Your point is noted Dr. Azil. There are no simple fixes for the obesity problem facing this nation and to world at large.

          In the end, no matter all we do stay healthy, the end is death for all of us.

  • Yikes, it’s sad that a health professional who was teaching young doctors made a statement such as not all obese people are unhealthy. You are so right that it’s an oxymoron. Of course, the BMI indicator is not 100% accurate, and yes some people are found to be “obese” according to their BMI when in fact they have a very small percent body fat vs. muscle mass. But we’re not talking about those individuals, it’s the true obese who have so many health risks.

    • Thanks for your comment Kristy. The reality is that while general life expectantcy has increased across the board, it is very rare to see an eighty year old moderate-to-severe obese person.

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