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Healthy Living

Am I the Right Candidate for Medical Weight Loss?

Jun 1 2021
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Weight gain and obesity are problems for millions of people around the world. The global obesity rate is almost 300% higher than it was in 1975.

More than 32% of American adults are overweight, with another 36.5% being obese. The problem goes far beyond the way your clothing fits. Obesity is linked to an increased risk of developing more than 60 chronic illnesses.

Medical weight loss isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. There are a few different options available, giving you a wider range of solutions to meet your unique needs.

What’s right for you might not be the same as what’s right for someone else. But the good news is this — not only is medical weight loss safe, but it’s also effective for people who meet the criteria.

What is medical weight loss?

Medical weight loss is a broad category of services provided in a medical setting. It provides you with different options depending on your health and what you qualify for. It also includes monitoring by doctors and medical professionals to help you lose weight safely.

The two types of medical weight loss are surgical and nonsurgical. Surgical weight loss options either make the stomach smaller or change the path of your intestines to help you lose weight. In turn, they also help reduce your risk of weight-related conditions like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Nonsurgical weight loss consists of personalized programs designed to help you lose weight and keep it off.

What to expect from medical weight loss

Is medical weight loss safe? Yes. These programs are headed by a licensed medical professional. As you’re getting started, you can expect to meet with your medical weight loss team, which will include a doctor and a nurse.

You might also have a counselor, dietitian and fitness trainer involved in your journey. No matter if you’re entering a surgical or nonsurgical program, the end goal is the same — to help you make the changes you need to lose weight and keep it off.

For some people, surgery might be the ideal option. For others, medication for weight loss combined with education and guidance works best. More than just a passing fad, these programs focus on long-term changes to get you on the road to a healthier life.

Requirements for weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery isn’t a good option for everyone. The right candidate walks a fine line. For starters, you have to be seriously overweight. But you can’t be too overweight. Some people are too heavy to safely go through surgery.

Every patient is different. And every program has its own criteria. Most doctors look for candidates who are willing to undergo counseling. You should also have a history of at least two years of being overweight and trying to lose weight. Other requirements that mean you might be a good candidate for medical weight loss surgery include:

  • Being between the ages of 18 and 65
  • Being motivated to lose weight and willing to make lifestyle changes
  • Having a body mass index (BMI) between 35 and 39.9 with a serious weight-related condition like high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnea
  • Having a BMI of 40 or higher, which is common among people 100 pounds or more overweight

Requirements for nonsurgical medical weight loss

If you don’t meet the requirements to get weight loss surgery or if you want to try other options first, there are nonsurgical solutions that can help.

Nonsurgical services include prescription medications, personalized meal plans and medical monitoring. People under the age of 18 also have options to help manage their weight. To qualify, candidates meet criteria such as:

  • Having a BMI of 30 or higher
  • Having a BMI of 27 to 29.9 with a weight-related condition like high cholesterol, high blood pressure or sleep apnea
  • Needing support and supervision to successfully lose weight

If you’ve been trying to reach a healthy body weight and can’t seem to make progress, you don’t have to struggle alone. If you’re ready to take the next step or you want to learn more about your medical weight loss options, Mercy Health is here to help. We offer everything from gastric bypass surgery to individual counseling and meal plans.


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