Today on Dr. Oz: The new guidelines for Lap-Band eligibility
As I mentioned in my post “FDA Approves Lap-Band for less obese adults” a few weeks back, the level of obesity required to qualify for Lap-Band surgery has been significantly lowered.
Now if you have a BMI of 30 or higher, along with a complication, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, the FDA will approve you for a Lap-Band procedure.
In other words, now a woman who is 5’4″ and 175 lbs can get approved for Lap-Band surgery if she also has one complication, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
I don’t know about where you live, but in my neck of the woods a full 50% of the population is going to qualify for a Lap-Band.
A study from 2002 found that the average BMI of adult males and females was about 28.
In the last 10 years, do you think the average American has gotten fatter or thinner?
I wouldn’t doubt that the average BMI is now closer to 30 for men and women. If so, then about half of the adult population would qualify for a Lap-Band if they had one of the “necessary complications.”
I have seen the “normal ranges” for cholesterol and fasting blood glucose fall in the last decade, and this seems to be a similar “lowering of the bar.” For what purpose, I’m not sure.
Does it serve special interest groups, like groups of bariatric surgeons that make their livings by installing plastic and silicone devices for the purpose of serving as a gatekeeper for food in the stomachs of the weak-willed among us?
Or does the FDA genuinely care about us and our seemingly unending struggle to lose weight, so that we can squeeze into our “skinny jeans” and impress all the people at our 10, 20, or 30 year high school reunion coming up this summer?
Back to the show…
The most interesting segment was when he introduced two women that currently have Lap-Bands installed. One lost 50 pounds in the last 6 months, and the other lost 180 pounds since having the surgery 6 years ago. Incidentally, they both looked just like any other obese person you might pass on the street, neither fatter nor slimmer than a typical obese person.
One woman showed Dr. Oz what she typically ate in a day before Lap-Band surgery, and then the camera panned to a table with a day of Post Lap-Band “meals”: 5 spoons of yogurt for breakfast, a cup of clear soup for lunch, and 4 spoons of chocolate pudding for dinner. She emphasized that if the soup has something like chicken of vegetables in it, those additions can be hard to “get down.”
So what the Lap-Band boils down to is an enforcer of austere dietary restriction, and the penalty of disobeying the enforcer might be heartburn, reflux, difficulty swallowing, or vomiting.
The woman also stated “…if you take one or two bites too many, you will vomit.”
How’s that for an incentive to keep your portions down?
Dr. Oz voiced his opinion with the following statement:
“The Lap-Band could be the answer for people who can’t lose weight on their own.”
I feel at the very least he could have advised people to make sure that this is what they want, and to ensure they have exhausted other methods for losing excess weight.
If you ask me, this change in FDA guidelines was made to enable certain groups or individuals to make money, and has little to do with the goal of improving the health of our citizens.
By the way, since when was the FDA concerned about things other than food and drugs?
Do you know anyone who has had the Lap-Band procedure? Have you had it?
I’d love to hear about your experience, please send me a comment.
Robert J. Stone