nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

You may have read that the FDA has now recommended that the Lap-Band for weight loss be available to the "less fat."

(See the Wash Post, Dec 3.)

Til now, the requirement was a BMI of 40 or more (or 35 with an obesity-related medical problem).  The FDA says now it's OK for the 30-35 range.

Let's say you are 5 feet 8 inches tall.  To have a BMI of 40 you would have to weight 264 pounds.  Clearly the previous criteria were meant for very overweight people

Recall that BMI is weight divided by the square of height (in kg and meters).  25 or less is ideal, 25-30 is overweight, 30 and above is obese.  79% of Americans are over 25.

For a quick estimate of BMI go here and plug in your weight and height.

Note that it's only this specific device that's affected.  Inserted through an incision it creates a bottleneck in the stomach, so only a small amount of food can pass through at a time.

People lose a lot of weight in the first year.  Take it out and you're back to square one, if there's been no change in eating behavior.  Here's what the device looks like (two are shown):

And here's what it does:

Looks like a medieval torture device.

I'm dubious of the long-term utility of these weight loss strategies.  No metabolic, nutritional, or behavioral changes occur in conjunction with their use.

One thing they rarely mention:  not being able to eat much leaves you very hungry.  If we could tolerate the hunger, we wouldn't need the device.

Doc D

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