Rise in extreme obesity creates new level of treatment complexity

More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. If current trends continue, no state will have an obesity rate lower than 44% by 2030, according to September estimates by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health.

As clinically challenging as it is for primary doctors to treat obese patients — defined as those with a body mass index of 30 or higher — the problem is compounded when caring for patients with morbid obesity. These are patients with a BMI greater than 40, and their numbers are growing rapidly.

In 2000, 3.9% of U.S. adults had a BMI of 40 or greater. By 2010, the figure grew to 6.55%, said a study published Sept. 18 in the International Journal of Obesity.

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