What Is The BMI?

Many of our patients use the BMI (or body mass index) calculator as the be-all and end-all to see if they qualify for bariatric surgery. While the BMI calculator is a very useful tool, it is simply an approximation of whether a patient is obese or overweight. The main concern with regard to the BMI calculator’s accuracy is what it does not factor into his calculations:

  • First and foremost, the BMI calculator does not account for gender differences. Different body types between men and women can change a BMI calculation significant.
  • Secondly the BMI calculator does not account for muscle mass. Muscle is heavier than fat meeting that those with a significant musculature may be mistaken for suffering from obesity when, in fact, that is not the case.
  • Further, a patient’s body frame is not taken into account when making the calculation. We’ve all heard the term “big boned.” While it is not literally correct, people do have different frame sizes which can alter their BMI.
  • The BMI calculator does not take into account a person’s age. As we age, our muscle mass to decreases which can significantly alter the BMI calculation.

All in all, for an average person, a BMI calculator is useful as a step toward understanding if they qualify for bariatric surgery. Several other qualification criteria must be met before bariatric surgery becomes an option for someone who is obese. As such we encourage prospective patients to use the BMI calculator as a general guide and nothing more.

Once you contact our office we will be able to take that BMI calculation and with an evaluation of other criteria, we will be able to help you decide of bariatric surgery, and specifically which procedure, is right for your particular circumstance.