Our obesity surgeons do not feel that BMI is always the best way to measure whether someone should have bariatric surgery, but it does serve an important role as a quick and easy way of measuring obesity. For the majority of people, BMI is a helpful way to determine how much fat they have. Each BMI is assigned to a designation of Underweight, Ideal weight, Overweight, or Obese. There are categories of obesity that include Severely Obese, Morbidly Obese, and Super Obese.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI Range Official Designation
Under 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Ideal weight
25 – 29.9 Overweight
30 – 34.9 Obese
35 – 39.9 Severely Obese
40 – 49.9 Morbidly Obese
50+ Super Obese

It is important to note that these BMI measurements are assigned for adults. At New York Bariatric Group we often treat adolescents who are obese, and those cases are evaluated slightly differently.

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Note: A BMI of 30 – 34.9 or BMI 35 – 39.9 with no comorbidities qualify for lap band but is usually not covered by insurance.

BMI And Treatment Recommendations

Our weight loss surgeons will make treatment recommendations for you based on your medical history, lifestyle, goals, and preferences. In general, the weight loss balloons like Orbera or Obalon are approved for adults with a BMI between 30 – 40. Surgical procedures like the gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and Lap Band are typically done for patients with a BMI over 40 if they have no obesity-related health conditions, or with a BMI over 35 if they have at least one comorbidity (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, or heart disease). Studies have also suggested that patients with BMIs as low as 30 should be offered bariatric surgery, since it is important to address health complications of obesity as early as possible.

If you are unsure whether your BMI qualifies you for bariatric surgery, please speak to us. We can help you understand the requirements as well as what options may be most beneficial to you.

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