Everyone knows that the increase in obesity is one of the largest cost drivers in US healthcare costs. For example, medical treatment for workers’ compensation injuries can cost six to eight times as much with obese patients vs. non-obese. I tend to gain and lose weight a lot (bad, but my reality), so I was particularly interested to read a new study showing that there is one advantage to having a little more heft when it comes to surgeries.
While I am in no way condoning weight gain, this surprising study shows that individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 23.1 are twice as likely to die than patients with a BMI of 35.3 during surgery.
- Underweight = Less than 18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
- Overweight = 25–29.9
- Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
This basically means normal to underweight people are at twice the risk of dying than heavier people during surgery.
Now, I have issues with BMI, it’s far too simplistic. Anyone that lifts weights will have extra “weight” and will move up the “obesity” scale. Body fat percentage is the more accurate measure (but much harder to obtain). It still appears that the weight, be it muscle or fat, does add some protection during surgeries. If someone is “lighter,” they are at greater risk. Interesting from a medical management and utilization review perspective.