Obesity and Bariatric Conditions


Why would you need a bariatric wheelchair?

Bariatrics is the medical field and terminology that addresses obesity in treatment and products, such as medical equipment with appropriate weight capacities. Individuals with a body mass index exceeding a healthy range have a much greater risk of medical issues. These include heart disease, diabetes mellitus, many types of cancer, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, and chronic musculoskeletal problems.

Understanding obesity body mass index (BMI)

Underweight (Less than 18.5) – You might think being underweight is better than being overweight. However, being underweight is associated with numerous health risks. It can also be a symptom of larger health problems. If you are underweight, be sure to speak to your doctor about your weight.

Normal (18.5 to 24.9) – If your BMI indicates that you are a normal weight, congratulations. Now, it is important that you maintain this weight in a healthy way. If you are unsure about a safe, healthy way to maintain a weight in the normal range, ask your doctor about creating a healthy diet and exercise program.

Overweight (25 to 29.9) – A body mass index in this range strongly indicates that you may be overweight. BMI readings in this range may be misleading for athletes, children, and certain ethnic groups; however, if your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you should discuss your health risks and a healthy bariatric weight loss program with your doctor.

Obese (30 or greater) – With the rare exception of some professional athletes and bodybuilders, if your BMI is over 30, there are increased health risks based on weight. Obesity can lead to heart disease, stroke, joint pain, and more.

BMI scale

What causes obesity?

Research around the world has shown that one or more of the following factors can contribute to the development of obesity:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal issues such as hypothyroidism
  • Psychological problems that include depression
  • Lack of exercise
  • Inadequate sleep or sleeping problems
  • Eating disorders that include binge eating
  • Metabolic abnormalities
  • Genetic factors

How is obesity treated?

The goal of obesity treatment is to reach and stay at a healthy weight. One may need to work with a team of health professionals — including a dietician, behaviour counsellor or an obesity specialist — to help understand and make changes in eating and activity habits. The initial treatment goal is usually a modest weight loss — 3 to 5% of total weight. That means that if one weighs 200 pounds and is obese by BMI standards, one would need to lose only about 6 to 10 pounds (2.7 to 4.5kg) for health to improve. However, the more weight one loses, the greater the benefits.

Other treatment tools include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise and activity
  • Behaviour change
  • Prescription weight-loss medications
  • Weight-loss surgery


Prognosis for obesity

The prognosis for obesity depends upon the associated complications and response to weight loss treatment. Individuals with severe underlying complications and/or those who do not respond to treatment have a poorer prognosis. Those who are severely obese have a risk of dying from a heart attack 40 times greater than those who are not obese. Repeated loss and regaining of weight encourage the body to store fat and may increase the risk of developing heart disease. Individuals who lose weight and do not continue regular physical activity are reported to regain their lost weight within two years. Therefore, the primary factor in maintaining weight loss is a long-term commitment to regular exercise and proper eating habits.

Specialized bariatric power wheelchairs for mobility

Some with obesity require the use of a specialised bariatric power wheelchair. Quantum Rehab, the global leader in individualised powerchairs, emphasises bariatric mobility technologies specific to the needs of those with obesity. Quantum powerchairs incorporate power-adjustable seating for user repositioning and comfort, speciality drive controls, including those requiring minimal hand strength, and a highly adaptable design to meet an individual’s current and future needs.

Additionally, Quantum offers models with exceptional performance at bariatric weight capacities. Quantum powerchairs feature the latest advanced technologies to increase the independence of those living with bariatric needs. Bluetooth is also integrated into Quantum’s Q-Logic 3 electronics, so those with obesity can operate much of their environment with the powerchair drive control itself. Powerchairs are designed to provide optimal medical comfort and maximum independence for those with bariatric needs.

ICON Rehab Powerchair

ICON Rehab Powerchair UK

Quantum Q6 Edge 2 Powerchair

Quantum Q6 Edge 2 Powerchair profile


The Quantum Edge 3 with industry-first 4.5 mph at iLevel offers the most advanced powerchair experience. Q6 powerchair series, which includes the Edge 3 and Q6 Edge 2.0 powerchairs, provide highly adjustable mid-wheel drive power bases. The Q6 Edge 2.0 all accept our optional iLevel technology, which offers up to 12 inches of lift at 4.5 mph. The 4Front is a quiet, more responsive front-wheel drive powerchair that features automotive-grade suspension with unprecedented comfort and ride quality.

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