I am frequently asked about my opinion on Weight Loss Surgeries and who qualifies. Below are the criteria used by physicians and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery to determine who might be a candidate for weight loss surgery:
1. A body mass index (BMI) greater than 40.
You can calculate your body mass index using a BMI calculator on WebMD or other websites. In early 2011, the FDA approved the Lap-Band restrictive surgery for those with a BMI of 30 or higher who have at least one obesity-related condition, such as diabetes.
2. Your BMI is greater than 35, and you have obesity-related health problems that may improve with weight loss.
Sleep apnea, severe arthritis, and diabetes are conditions that may benefit from weight loss.
3. You can demonstrate that traditional weight loss programs, like diet and exercise, have not worked.
It is by far preferable to lose weight without the risks of surgery. Weight loss surgery should be considered a last resort after traditional methods fail. Some physicians may require you to show you have made serious efforts to lose weight.
4. You are ready to commit to permanent lifestyle changes after surgery.
Weight loss surgery is no quick fix. Ideally, surgery is only the beginning of a new healthy lifestyle. The surgery gives you a quick start on your weight loss and a small window of time to change your lifestyle. Without these changes, the surgery will not be successful in the long-term. These lifestyle changes include a special calorie restricted diet, regular exercise (cardiovascular work, strength training, and flexibility work), and daily vitamins recommended for bariatric surgery patients.
5. You understand the risks and benefits of weight loss surgery.
As with any surgical procedure, it’s essential to be well informed before considering weight loss surgery — knowing and accepting the risks as well as the benefits. I recommend you do some research on your own, talk to people that have had the surgery, talk to a nutritionist, and get the opinion of your primary physician.
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.
By: Janet Hunt