Super Obesity!

Apparently “morbid obesity” isn’t obese enough!  Some now refer to people with a BMI of 50 or more as “super obese”.  For some reason I’m finding this amazingly humorous.  Suddenly I want a Supergirl costume!  :)

Though seriously, it does make you wonder.  Medical personnel spent years cautioning me that morbid obesity was OMG so much worse than just plain obesity.   Is being “superfat” somehow less deadly than morbidly obese?  Must goth fatties purge black from their wardrobes if they move out of the morbidly obese category?

I do wonder if they got the “super” tag from the “supersize” clothing category.  I don’t think they were looking for something worse than “morbidly obese”, or else it’d be “sudden death obese”.


…and if you think I seriously think this makes me cooler than anyone smaller, you should read Marianne’s post from today.

38 thoughts on “Super Obesity!

  1. Seriously, do you get a cape with that? I don’t know why they bother, since any right-thinking human being should shrivel up in shame at simply being called “fat,” let alone plain old “obese.” Hardly seems necessary to come up with new ways to label and shame people you barely acknowledge the existence of the first place.

    I’m thinking it’s high time we come up with a similar scale: “ignorant,” “super-ignorant,” and maybe even “morbidly ignorant,” where that kind of stupid could get you killed.

    • The linked article referred to “surgical literature”. I can see how there might be different issues in operating on someone of > 50 BMI than someone of >40 or >30, and that’s probably the distinction.

      But no, no cape. (Okay, I do have a purple velvet cape that I got at a scifi con, which I occasionally wear for funky dress-up events. I am a nerd ;)

  2. Just call me fat. But if you have to use the O-word, I’d rather be called super obese than morbidly obese. At least super means I’m good at something.

    Also, I definitely want a T-shirt and cape. Maybe a big red O in a yellow background.

  3. So that totally means you get superpowers right?

    Granted I’m punchy and tired but really? Seriously all those super fancy degrees and whatnot and that’s what they come up with?

    I remain unimpressed.

  4. First I’m not supposed to wear spandex, now I’m a superhero so I have to? Can I decide whether or not I have super powers, because I’d rather be like Batman. I’d swing around and stop photographers from taking headless photos of other fat people. My Fatcave would have a giant baby donut leaning against one wall.

    Super obesity does sound better than morbid obesity. It sure as hell sounds better than “extended plus”. I’d like to split the difference though and just be “super fat”.

  5. I’m with Godless Heathen: Super Fat! Sounds likes some sort of new movie title too. I want super healing powers that can extend to others. (I already seem to heal fast myself; I’d like to be able to pass that happy along!) Spandex makes me itch though. Maybe I can introduce breathable cottons to the supers wardrobe options? ;)

  6. No spandex or tights for me. I want to be like The Doctor. Give me a TARDIS to travel around in. Instead of fighting Daleks and Cybermen, I’d be fighting MeMe Roth, Tam Fry, Gillian McKeith, and that stalker from “I Want to Save Your Life.” And occasionally, I’d pick up other super obese people to be my companions to help me.

    But still, I prefer “deathfat.” It strikes an imposing image, don’t you think?

  7. Is being super obese somehow less deadly than morbidly obese?

    I don’t know, but it sure sounds like it’s a lot more awesome!

    Maybe it would be nice if the medical community adopted happier adjectives for obesity. People with a BMI of 30-40 could be “pleasantly obese,” people with a BMI of 40-50 could be “terrifically obese,” and people with a BMI over 60 could be “super obese.” What do you think, AMA?

    • Oh, but then the fat people might think it’s okay to be fat!! Because no one is fat without permission! Just as no one is short without society granting them an “It’s okay to be short” card!

  8. I am only ‘pleasantly obese’ myself, but I stand in awe of you, my great superheroes. As for surgical risks, those are another thing greatly lied up & exaggerated. You know that there is prejudice & manipulation at work when they constantly assure you that you are ‘too fat’ for surgery which you actually NEED, then try to pressure you to have WLS.

    If only all the fat superheroes could band together & put an end to the idiocy, disrimination, stereotyping & flatout lying in this culture. And I am a nerd, too.

    • You know that there is prejudice & manipulation at work when they constantly assure you that you are ‘too fat’ for surgery which you actually NEED, then try to pressure you to have WLS.

      Yes. This.

  9. I don’t know, but it sure sounds like it’s a lot more awesome!

    It TOTALLY DOES sound more awesome! Man, I was all proud of my Class III Morbid Obesity status, but now I’m getting jealous that I’m not Super Obese material. CAN I NEVER DO ANYTHING RIGHT??

    Maybe it’s “super obese” because you have to have the patience of a super-saint to deal with society when you have a BMI over 50. It’s like you’re a fat superhero, and your superpower is dealing with assholes!

    I could use some more of that superpower myself.

  10. Yeah, their “surgical risks” for the super-obese (of which I am one) really crack me up. I was too fat to have gallbladder surgery unless I lost weight, but I wasn’t too fat to have the much more invasive VBG. I was too fat to have knee replacement surgery (and there isn’t a lot of fat around my knees) but I wasn’t too fat for WLS. I don’t believe doctors anymore when they say someone is too fat to have any kind of surgery except WLS.
    As for being “super-obese”, it’s because those of us with a BMI over 50 have to be super-patient with the morons who think thin=healthy and fat=dead in 5 years (I must have more lives than a cat then, because I was first told my weight would kill me within 5 years, oh, about 35 years ago).

    • As for being “super-obese”, it’s because those of us with a BMI over 50 have to be super-patient with the morons who think thin=healthy and fat=dead in 5 years (I must have more lives than a cat then, because I was first told my weight would kill me within 5 years, oh, about 35 years ago).

      I was supposed to have diabetes and need a knee replacement by 25. Thirty, tops.

  11. Amen to ‘competence of the surgeon.” I wish I had had one of THOSE when I had surgery on my left leg/foot for cerebral palsy nearly 55 years ago.

    And there is a lot of that ‘this or that is going to kill you in X years ago.” My very fat & admittedly alcoholic brother was told nearly 45 years ago that he would be dead within 5 years if he didn’t quit drinking (they hadn’t started on his weight then). He turned 70 in March & I suspect that the doctor who made this pronouncement may be dead by now, but my brother, much as I wish he HAD quit drinking, is still alive. My mother was told to expect a shortened life expectancy because of kidney disease & of course fat, but she had a kidney removed just before she turned 45 & managed to live until she was 85. People are often given death sentences for a variety of reasons &, yes, if someone has a terminal disease, they may come true, but it is amazing how often death sentences, especially those handed down to fat people, are delayed what must seem to the ‘experts’ to be an interminable time.

  12. As a med student, I definitely saw some surgeons have technical problems on larger patients, but yeah, basically that’s about competence and advance preparation. For example, some of the standard “ports” used for less-invasive laparoscopic surgery just aren’t big enough to get through a very deep layer of subcutaneous abdominal fat, and the surgeon would get very frustrated and eventually be forced to “convert” to a more invasive open surgery.

    So, I can see that you’d need some way to define a group in which you’re likely to encounter certain challenges, in order to be adequately prepared for them. But “super obese” is pretty silly. Defining it by BMI also seems silly, as at least from what I’ve seen it’s more about fat distribution. (Big breasts aren’t going to get in the way of removing a gallbladder).

    • That is pretty much what I had assumed. And yes, BMI is not ideal – I happen to carry a lot of weight on my abdomen but many women my BMI wear their weight on their hips and thighs, with much smaller bellies.

  13. I had gall bladder surgery in June of 2001, and I’m the same size now that I was back then. The surgeon, who did my grandfather’s emergency gall bladder as well, never told me he couldn’t do the surgery due to my size. Not only that, he said one of my surgeries was the easiest he ever did. So I don’t understand this refusal to operate on very fat people unless it’s WLS, which is one of the riskiest procedures around with higher chances of complications. The medical community has to get away from using BMI as an indicator of health.

  14. I don’t like any of these terms, but I’d take “super obese” over “morbidly obese” or the terms of yesteryear, which included such winners as “grotesquely obese.”

    Or my all-time favorite (which is real, which is really from a study I have from the early 90s) which was :

    “Massive, morbid, gross, debilitating obesity.”

    ……for women of about 250 lbs. iirc.

    Wonder how many adjectives they’d need now?

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  17. wellroundedmama–that is seriously from the early ’90s?! The mind boggles. Their brains would explode if they saw any number of things that I’ve heard rumored ’round the fatosphere about 250- (and above)-lb people working, having families, exercising, enjoying life, etc. (the example that comes to mind is fatgirlonadate running a 5K). You know, ’cause that’s impossible on account of the massive, morbid, gross, and debilitating.

    There are any number of reasons why this “super obese” thing seems questionable, but one tiny one is that their categories all start at some even number of BMI (which is an arbitrary scale in the first place), and there is no reason for that to be the case. Personally I think the human brain just feels the need to separate things into categories, and 50 sounds like a “huge” BMI, so bam! It’s superobese!

    Patsy Nevins, I quoted you re: WLS on my blog. Hope you don’t mind.

  18. The next time I see a doctor, I am demanding my cape and tights for the super power of not beating them over the head with their medical books when they call me ignorant/deluded/dishonest for what’s in my food diary.

    Patsy Nivens, you’ve been reading my blog, haven’t you? ;)

  19. I got turned down for a paltry 30K life insurance policy (of which I somehow qualified for the year prior-at the same weight) by hubby’s company’s insurance because I was “super obese” (their word). It was the first time I had heard the word and immediately put my hands on my hips in Superman fashion and said “I’m Super Fatty!”
    My kid just laughed and laughed at that comment, and still uses it to this day. (Inside, I was cringing at the rejection because hey…stay at home mom’s need money for funeral arrangements too). But I made light of a stupid situation for the benefit of showing my kid that labels are really stupid and impersonal. As an average sized 9 yr old, she’s got a pretty good body image and I intend to keep it that way in spite of society! After all, I AM Super Fatty!

  20. And also, I call BS on the “you’re too fat for surgery” line we sometimes get fed. I had been given the same spiel when I had a baseball sized fibroid removed (found an even better surgeon to do the surgery TYVM). The only difference in the surgery was that they had to do a verical incision in my belly instead of using the laproscope tools.

    I healed very quickly and five months later had an emergency appendectomy laproscopically for a ruptured appendix*. I, myself, asked the surgeon if she foresaw a problem using those tools on a Super Fatty like me right up front. She smiled and said nope. 30 minutes later, I’m out of surgery and gone the next morning. Then, a D&C/Uterine Ablation 3 months after that with no complications. Imagine that……we fatties somehow magically heal!

    *individual results may vary

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