The Reality TV show "My 600-lb Life" features morbidly obese people seeking weight loss after bariatric surgery. But it goes beyond just diet and lifestyle. The TLC program explores nutrition, obesity-related health conditions, and obesity as an eating disorder like anorexia. It also distinguishes overweight, obesity and morbidly obese. You won't be surprised that Steven Assanti is obese. But you will probably be shocked to hear that celebrity singer Kelly Clarkson may technically be obese, as well.

TLC reality show coins 'morbidly obese' term

In 2012, the CDC estimated that three-quarters of the population of the U.S.

are overweight (with a body mass index(BMI) over 25) and 34 percent are obese (BMI over 29) and 7-10 percent were very obese (BMI over 34). The disease centers predicted that number would rise. About that time, TLC created a reality television show in which Dr. Younan Nowzaradan offers super plus-sized folks bariatric surgery. Dr. Now found lives so devastated by weight gain that nomenclature was amended to add a category for "morbid obesity."

Weight loss surgery show uncovers horrific weight-related issues

"My 600-lb Life" gives viewers an inside look at obesity and its concomitant health hazards--lymphedema, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, chronic heart failure, and cellulitis (to name a few).

It follows weight loss patients Amber Rachdi who began at 660, Steven Assanti (850 pounds) and Laura Perez who weighed around 600. TLC explores how their lives have ground to a halt carrying 5 times their normal body weight. Show Dr. Younan Nowzaradan delves into patient drug addiction, enabling caregivers, and toxic relationships.

Overweight, obese and morbid obesity

A person who weighs as much as 5-6 adults is in serious health trouble as the term morbid obesity suggests. But that only accounts for one-seventh of overweight people, a third of the obese. What defines "overweight" and "obese" might surprise you. The BMI is based on a height to weight ratio.

A 5'1" adult, like Mama June Shannon of "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" is overweight at 133 pounds, obese at 159 and morbidly obese at 180. Even after her boasted weight loss "in the 160s") on WEtv "From Not to Hot" she's still pushing obesity.

Gastric bypass vs. natural weight loss

"My 600-lb Life" touts gastric bypass surgery as the only option. However "morbidly" obese can be as little as 45-50 pounds overweight. For kids, it's much less. With diet and exercise, people can achieve weight loss like that easily. But the problem is that weight gain snowballs quickly--the heavier you get the faster and more you tend to gain. The trick, as Dr. Now is always reminding folks, is to start sooner rather than later.