When you talk about weight loss surgery and obesity, you’ll often hear the term BMI. Also known as body mass index, your BMI is a measurement of your weight in relation to your height. It provides you and your doctors with key information about your general health and can serve as an indication that you may benefit from bariatric surgery.
Why is BMI important?
Your BMI is an important screening tool for your health. It’s used by doctors to assess how far your weight departs from what is considered to be optimal for a person of your height.
Although BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of how much excess fat you have, it doesn’t take into account other important factors that can affect your weight, like muscle and bone structure. As such, most doctors will also provide more detailed tests in addition to your BMI to determine if your extra weight is a true health risk. These tests include skinfold thickness measurements and a careful evaluation of your diet, physical activity, and family history, along with other health screenings.
How is BMI interpreted?
Your BMI tells you and your doctors whether you’re underweight, of a normal weight, overweight or obese for your height. Once your BMI is out of the normal range, your health risks generally increase substantially.
In addition, a person with a BMI of 40 or higher is considered morbidly obese and an individual with a BMI of 50 or higher is classified as super morbidly obese.
At what BMI you become a candidate for Bariatric Surgery?
Your BMI is a key indicator that bariatric surgery may be in your best interest. In fact, in order to qualify for most weight loss surgeries, you have to have a BMI of a certain level. For example, for most procedures, you’ll need a body mass index of greater than 40 or a body mass index of greater than 35 and obesity-related health issues that are likely to resolve with weight loss, such as sleep apnea, diabetes and severe arthritis.