The best way to quantify obesity is to use the Body
  Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated by dividing
  weight (kg) / height (m)2







  Below 18


  18 – 19.9

  Slight Underweight

  20 – 24.9


  25 – 29.9


  30 – 39.9


  40 – 49.9   Morbidly Obese

  Above 50

  Super Obese

Obesity is

a result of imbalance between the amounts of energy intake versus the amount used. If the intake is higher than the expenditure then the fat which is produced is stored and the patient becomes obese.

The World Health Organization classified obesity as a disease. It is a disease, which is associated with high morbidity as many disorders are found in obese people (e.g. diabetes mellitus, hypertension, osteoarthritis, hyperlipidaemia, social, sexual and psychological diseases) and also high mortality (high risk in dying unexpectedly from complications of obesity).

Genetic factors

 play a major role in obesity by affecting the person's metabolic rate. Life style and eating habits ie. eating a lot of fast foods affect the population negatively.

Social and psychological

factors are also very important. Food is an addiction, which is difficult to cure.

The statement of the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity in Prague 1996 summarizes the above quite well:

"Obesity is a chronic, lifelong, multifactorial, genetically-related, life-threatening disease of excessive fat storage with highly significant medical, psychological, social, physical and economic co-morbidities."

300 000 Americans die every year in the USA as a result of obesity complications. Together with the rest of the world South Africa is also experiencing the global wave of the Obesity Epidemic (globesity). In South Africa white men and black women are the most affect by obesity. In a study from the Medical Research Council in 1990 it was found that 44% of African Women living in the Cape Peninsula were obese.