Among other functions, fat is essential for storing energy and insulating your body. Although, having too much fat results in obesity. The human body can handle carrying some extra fat, but beyond a certain point, body fat can begin to interfere with your health. For this reason, obesity is more than a cosmetic concern. Obesity is a major health concern and a life-threatening disease affecting millions of Americans. Obesity increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, depression, and many other serious health problems.

The prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically among Americans over the past 30 years. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, overweight and obesity prevalence have increased steadily among all US population groups over the past three decades. Nearly 1/3rd of all American adults are considered obese and one in six, under the age of 18, is overweight. If these trends continue, by 2030, approximately 86.3% of adults will be overweight, and 51.1% will be obese. By 2048, most American adults would become overweight or obese.

With or without insurance, the cost of obesity itself is often very high. Several studies show that overweight individuals, on average, pay over $15,000 a year for out-of-pocket healthcare expenses and several other costs relating to obesity. The good news is that even modest weight loss can improve or prevent complications associated with obesity. Weight loss is usually possible through dietary changes, increased physical activity, and behavior modification. For people who don’t respond to these lifestyle changes, other more complex obesity treatments are available to enhance weight loss. These include prescription medications and weight-loss surgery.

Of all the available methods, weight loss (bariatric) surgery is the only reliable treatment for obesity. Bariatric surgery has the ability to provide sustained weight loss, resolution of obesity-related illnesses, reductions in disease risk factors and obesity-related deaths, improved quality of life, and psychological conditions. Currently, the two most common bariatric surgeries practiced in the United States are the laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding (also known as lap band) and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedures. Weight loss surgery does not only play a significant role in improving health and quality of life, but also has proven to save money over time by lowering the financial impact of obesity.