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BMI criteria for obesity surgery should be lowered, UT Southwestern researcher suggests
Date:12/17/2007

DALLAS Dec. 18, 2007 UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found that the existing body mass index criteria for obesity surgery often excludes a group of obese patients at risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study, appearing in the December issue of the journal Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, is among the first to evaluate the risk-factor relationship between body mass index (BMI) and cardiovascular disease as it relates to bariatric surgery criteria, said Dr. Edward Livingston, chairman of GI/endocrine surgery at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study.

Our results show that cardiovascular risk factors do not necessarily worsen with increasing obesity, Dr. Livingston said. They also support the concept that obesity, by itself, doesnt trigger an adverse cardiovascular risk profile or increased risk of death.

The researchers examined patient data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database for the presence of known cardiovascular risk factors as a function of obesity. The survey was a cross-sectional study conducted from 1988 to 1994. All 17,234 participants had a BMI greater than 20.

BMI is a weight-to-height ratio commonly used in doctors offices to gauge obesity. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 25, whereas someone with a BMI of 40 or more is at least 100 pounds over their recommended weight and is considered morbidly obese.

Bariatric weight-loss surgery is currently recommended for patients with a BMI greater than 40, as well as for patients with a BMI greater than 35 who also suffer from a life-threatening illness, such as non-insulin dependent diabetes, sleep apnea or heart disease.

The study findings show that some morbidly obese patients have better cardiovascular disease risk profiles than those who are less obese. In particular, the researchers found that cardiovascular risk factors can be much worse in many individuals with a BM
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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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