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HOW OBESE DO YOU NEED TO BE TO QUALIFY FOR OBESITY SURGERY?  ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

BMI stands for body mass index, with a cutoff of 30 categorized as obese.  Yet only those with BMIs greater than 35 currently qualify for obesity surgery.  Now an FDA proposal seeks to lower the qualifying BMI for surgery to 30.  Thomas Magnusen, director of obesity surgery at Johns Hopkins, says this proposal must be considered very carefully. 

MAGNUSEN: The lowest weight we can currently go is a BMI of 35 if a patient has a major medical problem like diabetes and that’s true for every center in the country.  The new proposal is to lower that to a BMI of 30 which seems like well, it’s just five points, a BMI of 30 is the traditional cutoff for being obese so makes sense but when you think about it it’s a huge pyramid and you’re going down more toward the base of the pyramid and over a third of the United States is considered obese so there would be 80 million people who would be considered preop.   :29

Magnusen says one of the biggest issues will be funding such surgeries.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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