Published on July 19, 2022

Scale and measuring tape

Learning More About Obesity

Obesity is a widespread, common issue. It can be hard to talk about, even with our doctors. Tuesday F. A. Cook, MD, is an advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon with Adventist HealthCare Adventist Medical Group in Fort Washington, Maryland. She discusses obesity, what causes it and when to consider bariatric surgery.

WGTS 91.9 Health Minute: Learning More About Obesity

How common is obesity and how can someone know if they are obese?

Obesity is quite common in the United States and across the world. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that in 2018, 42% of US adults were considered obese and 9.2% are considered severely obese.

A person can find out if they’re considered to be overweight or obese by determining their body mass index (BMI). BMI is an estimate of body fat that compares a person’s weight to their height. A BMI of 30.0 to 39.9 is considered obese and a BMI of 40.0 and higher is considered severe obesity.

Are there factors that can increase a person’s chances of being obese?

Absolutely! There’s often a bias that people are obese because they overeat, however obesity is a multi-factorial medical problem. Obesity can be linked to factors that people can’t control such as genetics, psychological factors, side effects from medications or diseases such as hypothyroidism and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

What factors can we control?

Since we know that obesity is a multi-factorial process, there are things that do play into it. For example, we have control over our diet and the types of foods that we’re eating. As a first step, focus on developing a diet plan that works for you. It should be low in simple carbohydrates and high in lean meats, fruits and vegetables.

At what point should someone consider bariatric surgery?

Talk with your doctor about if bariatric surgery is right for you. Bariatric surgery is a major lifestyle change and to see long-term success, you must be prepared to make lifelong changes. You may be a candidate if:

  • Diet and lifestyle changes haven’t helped you lose weight
  • You have health conditions caused be obesity
  • You weight 80 to 100 pounds more than a healthy weight

If you would like to learn more or to schedule a consultation, call 240-724-6018 or visit

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