When looking at bariatric surgery options, it’s important to understand what obesity is and why we, as obesity surgeons, are treating it.
Problems with BMI
BMI is not an ideal measure of obesity for several reasons. It does not take into account factors like muscle vs. fat, and it does not reflect the importance of different types of fat within the body.
Despite the limitations of BMI, it is the currently accepted measurement, and the one used by insurance companies when they make decisions about weight loss surgery coverage.
A more specific type of obesity you may hear about is called abdominal obesity. The amount of fat someone carries around their waist is particularly important because studies have linked this type of obesity with more serious health complications. When looking at abdominal obesity, the general standard is a woman with a waist circumference of more than 35 inches, and a man with a waist circumference of more than 40 inches. While measuring abdominal obesity does not replace BMI, it is an additional number that bariatric surgeons can consider when recommending appropriate options for obesity treatment.