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Am I Morbidly Obese?

OC Staff Before Surgery, Calculators, Obesity & You, Resources

Reviewed By Patricia Sullivan, BSN, RN, CNOR, CBN

In order to qualify for weight loss surgery you have to be considered morbidly obese. By definition this term means that you suffer from obesity and because of this you are more likely to suffer from comorbidities.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) set the standards to measure and treat obesity. There are many factors that are considered. However, in the United States, if you meet the simple guidelines below you qualify to have surgery. This does not mean that your insurance company will cover surgery!

  1. You are over the age of 18.
  2. Your body mass index is over 40, or…
  3. Your body mass index is over 35 with one or more comorbid conditions. BMI, Body Mass Index, is a measurement of your height over your weight.
  • BMI is a standard measurement.
    • It’s part of criteria to qualify for bariatric surgery in the United States.

Most insurance companies require what the NIH requires and often a little bit more.

  • 35 BMI or higher with one or more comorbid conditions or
  • 40 BMI or higher

Enter your Weight (lbs)

Enter your Height (inches)

Your BMI

What does your number mean?

Body Mass Index Description
Less than 18.5 Underweight
18.5 to 24.9 Healthy Weight
25 to 29.9 Overweight
30 to 34.9 Obese
35 to 39.9 Severely Obese
Greater than 40 Morbidly Obese

Its important to know that many thin people show up as overweight on this chart. Bodybuilders often fall into the obese class.

BMI is not a perfect measurement but it is the most important single measurement that qualifies you for weight loss surgery.

To find out exactly what your insurance requires to approve weight loss surgery, please see our section, Does My Insurance Cover Weight Loss Surgery?


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