We’ve seen it on TV, heard about it on the radio and read it online. Pretty much every diet and fitness medium references the Body Mass Index or BMI. The Body Mass Index has become the standard by which we measure obesity – by comparing height to weight ratios of the average person. But what purpose does it really serve? A BMI calculator, like the one you see on our website, is meant to give you a rough estimate as to whether you are underweight, overweight or obese and for our purposes, whether you may qualify for bariatric surgery.
In essence, the BMI calculator helps both us, as bariatric surgeons, and you, ascertain whether or not you may qualify for on of our procedures. While it is undoubtedly an important tool and a large part of qualification for bariatric surgery (most insurance companies will only cover surgery for those with a BMI of 35 or over) there are also many other criteria that we must take into account. These include overall health, the presence of diseases associated with obesity, medical necessity and surgical risk. Each of these factors plays a part in the overall decision as to whether bariatric surgery is right for you. That’s why the BMI is not the be all and end all.
In the end, the BMI is by no means a comprehensive analysis of your eligibility for bariatric surgery, nor is it the perfect tool. Rather, it is a useful qualifying tool that can also offer you a relative comparison of your weight loss success after surgery.
There can be fluctuations in your actual BMI based on your body type, your gender and your age, so the first step toward bariatric surgery and seeing if you qualify is attending a free seminar to learn more about our practice and the procedures that may be available to you.