When was the last time you weighed yourself? You might not notice when a few extra pounds creep onto your waistline, but those pounds can accumulate quickly. Consuming more calories than you burn is usually to blame, but for those suffering from morbid obesity -- also known as clinically severe obesity -- it's more than just overindulging during the holidays or being too busy to get to the gym. Your risk of becoming morbidly obese is a combination of your genetics and metabolic rate. Other risk factors include habits such as eating too many calories and living a sedentary lifestyle. Morbid obesity is preventable, but you may need some intervention.
Carrying 100 pounds (45 kilograms) or more than your ideal, healthy body weight or having a body mass index (BMI) -- a measure of your body fat as determined by a ratio of your weight in kilograms to the square of your height in meters -- of 40 or greater means you're morbidly obese. Calculating your BMI won't tell you much about your health, but it's a good place to start assessing your risk of developing a chronic illness or other weight-related health problem.
The most common causes of death for people who are morbidly obese are conditions associated with weight called comorbidities, and we'll look at several such conditions starting on the next page.