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BMI: What is it?

When talking about weight and weight loss, your Body Mass Index, or BMI, is often brought up at your doctor’s office. Your BMI is a rough calculation of body fat based on the formula of your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. This yields a two-digit number that puts your body weight into one of four categories: underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese.

BMI wheel shows Body Mass Index calculations and categories of underweight, overweight, obese which describes a ratio of height and weight. Higa Bariatrics logo at top left.

Medical professionals use BMI to identify the weight status of individuals and across populations. According to BMI studies, the United States falls 16th in the world for highest obesity rates – having an average BMI of 28.8 and an obesity rate of 36 percent. However, the US has, by far, the highest proportion of obese adults of the largest countries in the world.

BMI and Bariatric Surgery

 When talking to a weight loss surgeon about whether you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, there are many variables that are taken into consideration including your BMI. If you have a BMI of 35 or higher, you may be a candidate for bariatric surgery. Other factors that we take into consideration are your (in)ability to lose weight through diet or exercise and the obesity related medical conditions from which you may be suffering .

Of course, the calculation for BMI has its flaws. Created by a Belgian mathematician, Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, in the 19th century, BMI was created to calculate obesity among a population in order to aid the government in resource allocation. Since BMI is a static numerical calculation, it does not take into account the weight of muscle and bone. A person who has high bone density and a muscular figure may have a BMI that falls into the overweight or obese category, even if they are fit.

Are You a Candidate?

Your candidacy for bariatric surgery requires assessment by a team of medical professionals including Dr. Higa. Apart from your weight, your general physical health, mental health, and commitment to a healthier lifestyle are also important. BMI is both used by doctors as well as insurance companies when they decide what interventions are appropriate and what costs will be covered, respectively.

The Bottom Line

If you feel that you could be a candidate for bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation with an experienced bariatric surgeon like Dr. Higa. Once they have reviewed your physical and mental health, they can advise you if it would be appropriate to move forward with the bariatric surgery process.

Dr. Guillermo Higa has over 20 years of experience with bariatric surgery, performing more than 1000 procedures. Schedule an appointment with our office today to start your weight loss journey.