Not everybody can undergo bariatric, or weight loss surgery. The prospective patient needs to undergo physical examination to determine whether s/he can qualify for the procedure. One consideration is the person’s body mass index, or BMI. It is the standard way to define overweight, obesity, and morbid obesity. The BMI, according to Torpy (1986), is calculated based on a persons height and weight—weight in kilograms (2.2 pounds per kilogram) divided by the square of height in meters (39.37 inches per meter). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40. This is the equivalent of being about 100 pounds overweight for men and 80 pounds overweight for women (Consumer Guide to Weight Loss Surgery (Bariatric Surgery), 2005).
Only when a person is found to be morbidly obese is bariatric surgery offered as recourse. If all else has failed ( including medical treatment), as well as lifestyle changes of healthy eating and regular exercise, then bariatric surgery is an option. However, if a person is not found to be morbidly obese, but s/he suffers from health-related illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, bariatric surgery can be offered as an option. Otherwise, bariatric surgery will not be considered.
Age is another consideration. Adolescents can be considered for the procedure only when they have tried to lose weight for at least six month, but been unsuccessful. Just like the adult candidates, adolescents must be extremely obese, with BMI greater than 40. They must also have reached their adult height. It’s usually 13, or older, for girls; and 15, or older for boys, and have serious weight-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, heart disease, or significant functional or psychosocial impairment (Bariatric Surgery for Severe Obesity, 2009). Further, physical considerations are not enough for adolescent candidates. They, together with their parents, need