Health Questions and Answers

Question: Is morbid obesity an eating disorder

Answer:

Morbid obesity is obesity of such a degree as to place the patient in danger of dying from overweight. While obesity per se is a long-term health risk, morbid obesity places the patient at risk in the near future. The original definition was a body weight more than 100% over the normal range. A more recent definition is a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 45 or more, which translates to 75-80% overweight. These individuals frequently exhibit compulsive overeating. They are usually manipulative individuals and there is often a sociopathic quality to their interactions with others. Morbidly obese individuals are uniformly adept at persuading others to bring them food. It is difficult to maintain a weight over 300-400 pounds without help from one’s friends and family.
But the eating disorders share the common characteristics of a tension between the desire for food and the desire to remain thin. Morbidly obese patients simply do not exhibit this tension. Their body image is opposite to that of the eating disorders. They feel they are thinner than they really are. They may want to lose weight for practical reasons- it makes them physically ill, they cannot find clothes, they cannot move about- but they do not appear to be concerned about their body image.
Morbid obesity is not an eating disorder, at least not without stretching the definition of eating disorder well beyond its present boundary. It is probably best characterized as   addiction. There are similarities to alcohol addiction- the frequent association with facilitators, the compulsive procuring of food, even the stockpiling of food around the house and car, so that the individual is never far from a source of food. Like an alcoholic, the morbidly obese patient invariably underestimates his or her food intake. An accurate dietary history can be obtained from witnesses, but not from the patient. In short, morbid obesity is a serious disease, but it is not an eating disorder.

2 Responses to “Question: Is morbid obesity an eating disorder”

  1. Alcohol Rehab » Blog Archive » Question: Is morbid obesity an eating disorder Says:

    […] Read it all here […]

  2. www.topweightlosssecrets.info » Question: Is morbid obesity an eating disorder Says:

    […] rtrafaelmd wrote a fantastic post today on “Question: Is morbid obesity an eating disorder”Here’s ONLY a quick extractMorbid obesity is obesity of such a degree as to place the patient in danger of dying from overweight. While obesity per se is a long-term health risk, morbid obesity places the patient at risk in the near future. … […]

Leave a Reply