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Letter from the Editor: Lap-Band at Birth — Is It Possible?

Dec 5, 2010

I was reviewing some charts with a physician this past week and she made a comment about how many of her younger patients, 18-30 year olds, were overweight and just keep getting bigger. Jokingly I commented that maybe we should put a Lap-Band on at birth and then as soon as they start to gain weight we can inflate. I don’t think that will happen but could we be on our way?

An FDA advisory committee met Friday to review Allergen’s application to extend approval of its Lap-Band device to include millions more people. The device is currently approved for people who are at least 100 pounds overweight or have a BMI of at least 40, or a BMI of at least 35 with other comorbidities such as heart disease. The company is looking for approval to lower those BMI cutoffs to 35 and 30 respectively. The study that Allergan submitted showed that after one year, eight in 10 Lap-Band recipients lost at least 30% of their excess weight, and 66% lost at least half and on average patient dropped from 215 to 175 pounds.

If the FDA approves the lower threshold BMI of 35, a 5’9″ man could weigh just 237 and a 5’4″ woman 204 to be eligible for the procedure. If the hypothetical man and woman happened to have additional health conditions related to obesity, the man would only have to weigh 203 to be eligible for the Lap-Band, and the woman would have to weigh at least 175 lbs.

Could it be that in 10-20 years my comment will be a fact?

Our own exercise and fitness guru, Sheri Colberg, Ph.D., FACSM, recently served as the chairperson to develop a joint statement on exercise and Type 2 diabetes for the American College of Sports Medicine and the ADA. Multiple studies have shown that exercise plays a major role in the prevention and control of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, gestational diabetes mellitus, Type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related health complications. Click here to read her all important summary of the position statement and follow the links to read the entire statement.

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Dave Joffe, Editor-in-chief