Push for lower BMI for banding

Australian obesity experts are divided over an international push for lower BMI criteria for bariatric surgery. 

In the latest salvo, New York surgeon Dr John Kral called for revision of US guidelines which recommend surgery for patients with a BMI of 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of 35 with one or more severe comorbidities. 

The criteria should be lowered to a BMI of 30 kg/m2 so patients were treated at a younger age, before developing severe disease, he wrote in a leading medical journal. 

Associate Professor John Dixon, a senior NHMRC research fellow at Melbourne’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, supported a lower threshold for bariatric surgery in patients with significant co-morbidities unable to achieve disease control targets.

“If they’ve got comorbidities and they are tracking their weight higher, it’s important to consider intervening then with surgery before waiting until they are much sicker,