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What Does Bariatric Mean?

A middle aged woman sitting on the couch looking at an digital tablet

You may have heard the term “bariatric,” but what does it really mean?

Well, if you do a quick Google search, you will find that bariatric means “relating to or specializing in the treatment of obesity.” When you hear the term “bariatric” being used in a medical setting, it is referring to the treatment, prevention, and causes of obesity.

Obesity is a serious health condition classified by excess body fat that can greatly affect your health. It is linked to a long list of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, osteoporosis, and stroke.

Obesity is very common in the U.S; the Center for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a survey that revealed about 40 percent of adults in the U.S had obesity in 2015-16.

A person is classified as having obesity and may be referred to as a bariatric patient when they have a body mass index (BMI) that is equal to or greater than 30. BMI is used to measure weight in relation to height.

Obesity classes are then determined by what range your BMI falls into. Class 1 obesity encompasses BMIs of 30-34.9, Class 2 as 35-39.9, and Class 3 as 40 and above. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for developing chronic diseases.

The field of bariatrics focuses on and treats those who have obesity to promote weight loss and increase overall health with diet, exercise, and behavior therapy. When thinking of bariatrics, you may think of bariatric surgery, which is also known as metabolic or weight-loss surgery.

Weight-loss surgeries, such as a roux-en-Y gastric bypass or a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, are performed to help assist in weight loss in people who have obesity. Weight-loss surgery also can reduce the risk or reverse the occurrence of chronic diseases.

Although this may be a common reference, the term “bariatric” does not always mean surgery.

Bariatric can refer to items that are created for obese individuals to best suit their needs. For example, a bariatric scale is a scale that is specially made for individuals that have obesity. Other bariatric devices are specialty crafted to provide ease and comfort and can be used to move, assist, and aid bariatric patients.

About this Blog

Learn about bariatric surgery and get the support you need to continue on your weight-loss journey. We offer workouts, recipes and tips from Bariatric Surgery program team members, and stories from patients like you.

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