It is always safest to lose weight by making lifestyle changes such as developing healthy eating habits and getting regular physical activity. For those who have tried but cannot lose the excess weight that is causing health problems, weight-loss surgery—also called bariatric surgery—may be appropriate.
Criteria for weight-loss surgery include:
- Body Mass Index (BMI) greater or equal to 35 kg/m², with one or more significant obesity-related conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, and arthritis, OR
- BMI greater than 40 kg/m², regardless of other medical conditions. Calculate your BMI
- History of multiple failed weight-loss attempts by dieting, exercise, and medical therapies, as documented by your physician
- 18 to 65 years of age (with some exceptions)
- Understanding the procedure and implications, and accepting the operative risks
- Having realistic expectations and motivation
- Committing to lifelong maintenance programs for diet, vitamin supplementation, exercise, and follow-up with your healthcare team.
These criteria are based on the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference, March 25-27, 1991, Gastrointestinal Surgery for Severe Obesity, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1992:55:615s-9s.