Yes, now we can open our arms to welcome in all of those who are “less than severely obese” to the ranks of those who doctors can now gleefully recommend surgically altering the way the human body is allowed to process food. Allergan is certainly going to be one happy company if this move does indeed “Pave the way to double the number of Americans who qualify for weight-loss surgery.”
Says the NY Times article of this FDA move:
Current guidelines say weight-loss surgery is appropriate for people who have failed to lose weight through diet and exercise and have a body mass index of 40 and above — or 35 and above if they have diabetes, hypertension or another severe health problem associated with diabetes.
Allergan wants to lower the threshold to a B.M.I. of 35 for people without health complications, and to 30 for people with health problems, which also would no longer have to be severe. (Emphasis mine)
I just want to point out the bold up there. Did you catch that bit about how you could now be approved for a Lap Band simply by merit of being fat (over 35 BMI) WITHOUT HAVING ANY PRIOR HEALTH COMPLICATIONS. I mean, do the people writing this crap even take a moment to wrap their brains around how INSANE this is?? How disingenuous to be offering a surgical procedure to physically alter the way your stomach is able to process food simply because you’re fat, BUT STILL HEALTH-PROBLEM FREE!?!
A little red flag to me is that this comes at at time when people are being booted from the military because they don’t fit the already outrageous BMI standards and can’t manage to trim their bodies to acceptable sizes; a topic excellently covered by Lesely over at Two Whole Cakes. How many of those folks at the edge of being fired for their BMI, are going to sign right up in order to keep their jobs and continue to serve our country? Probably more than I’d care to find out.
The article does indicate that there was some push back to Allergan’s proposed new lower limits:
But some committee members said the study was too small and too short, especially since people might have the band inside them for decades. Some wanted more evidence that the operation resolved diabetes or other health problems. Most panel members said the study included too few men, blacks and Hispanics.
Yet even those were apparently pushed aside because 2 of the 149 people in Allergan’s apparently nearly definitive little “study” told personal stories about how getting this surgery “Changed Their LivesTM”. Read on:
Two participants in Allergan’s study, whose transportation to the meeting was paid for by the company, testified that the surgery had changed their lives.
“I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs or even take a shower without taking a rest,” said one of them, Brandi Jirka of Nashville, who did not specify how much weight she lost. “Now I can run and play with my children, I do yoga and can shop at regular stores in the mall. I’ve even been snorkeling while wearing a bikini.”
Tell me again that this is all about health, okay? The part that sways the committee to approve this lower BMI, is that two people are all excited that they can now “Shop at regular mall stores” and “Wear a bikini”? Yeah, I know those two ticket items are huge on my OWN personal health check-list, what about you?
There was a moment in the reading of that NY Times article where I cheered, but then cried at the same time. There was a call to remove the idiotic use of BMI (yay!) but only because it put limits on how many people we could call fat and push towards these lap band devices and bariatric surgeries (wtf!?)
Some also said that B.M.I. was too crude a measure of how much a person needs surgery. (YAY! Right on: BMI is badly flawed. Emphasis mine)“The B.M.I. criterion is so seriously flawed,” said Dr. John G. Kral, professor of surgery and medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. “Removing this barrier of this idiotic number in itself would be an important step.”
Allergan, which is known mostly for Botox, hopes that expanding use of the Lap-Band to less obese adults — and also eventually to teenagers — will spur sales. Sales of its obesity products, mostly Lap-Band, fell 4 percent to $182.4 million in the first nine months of this year, a decline the company attributed to the weak economy. (Emphasis mine)
Are you kidding me?? We’re worried about this only because the damn company isn’t SELLING ENOUGH LAP BANDS?!?! Boo fucking-hoo!! All of this push to make the range of people we’re allowed to call fat (which happened big time back in 1998, remember?); because poor Allergan wants to bump up its numbers for the range of “obesity products” which makes up a measly 5% of its overall sales. AND did you catch how they hope to next push this crap on teenagers??
I just….this is why I’ve been trying to stick with the more positive posts lately. How can such moves make sense to people?? I know that we all have been force-fed the idea that people only get Unforgivably Fat because they overeat but when will we raise our hands, stamp our feet and say “NO! Enough is enough!! Leave my fat body alone!”?
In case you’re more of a visual person, take a look at this slide show for the BMI Project. THESE are the many people that Allergan wants to be able to slice into and make smaller. All the folks labeled as
“overweight” “obese” and beyond. And is anyone else beginning to feel the strain of the potential for them to ask for the high-end “normal” folks to get under that knife too next?
Do you think all those headless fatty photos that accompany such calls for stringent anti-fat measures make you safe? Do you look at them and think “well, I’m still fine, sheesh, I don’t look like THAT” Yeah, well Allergan thinks you DO look like that. And it’s coming for you next with a scalpel in one hand and the other outstretched for its monetary recompense.
So, welcome to the ranks of the pre-approved. Welcome to the ranks of the medically fat. I’ve been here for quite some time. You can submit your indignant rage here….