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Understanding Your BMI and How It Qualifies You for Medical Weight Loss

Dec 11, 2023
Understanding Your BMI and How It Qualifies You for Medical Weight Loss
It’s important to know your BMI so you can assess your risk of developing certain health issues. But that’s not all your BMI can tell you: It may indicate your eligibility for medical weight loss.

You may have calculated your body mass index or BMI as you think about your weight and health. Your BMI provides a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. If your BMI is over 30, you are considered obese according to medical guidelines. Obesity puts you at higher risk of health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. 

Your BMI can help assess your weight-related health risks and determine if you are eligible for a medical weight loss program. At M. Zafar MD, SC, which serves Illinois statewide by telehealth with offices in Streator and Flanagan, board-certified physician Muhammad Zafar, MD can help you figure out your BMI and guide you on a medically supervised and successful weight loss journey. 

Here, Dr. Zafar explains the connection between your BMI and medical weight loss program eligibility.

What is a BMI?

BMI is a widely-used screening tool that helps medical professionals categorize people into different weight status categories, such as underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese. To find your BMI, you take your weight in pounds or kilograms and divide it by the square of your height in feet or meters.

A BMI is not a health diagnosis but an assessment of your risk of developing certain diseases. While it’s helpful for both men and women, it’s not always accurate for athletes because it can’t distinguish between muscle mass and fat mass

When Your BMI Qualifies You for Prescription Weight Loss Drugs

Having a BMI of 27 or more, along with associated weight-related health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, or a BMI of 30 or more with or without a health concern, makes you a good candidate for medical weight loss.

Medical weight loss is a personalized, medically supervised approach to weight management that includes weight loss medications like Semaglutide (the active ingredient of Ozempic™ and Wegovy™) and Tirzepatide (the active ingredient of Mounjaro™ and Zepbound™)

How Semaglutide and Tirzepatide Work for Weight Loss

Semaglutide and Tirzepatide are prescription medications that can help with weight loss by decreasing appetite and slowing digestion. They belong to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists that mimic the effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone secreted by the intestines that helps regulate blood sugar levels and appetite.

These medications activate GLP-1 receptors in the brain that control hunger and fullness. By stimulating these receptors, Semaglutide and Tirzepatide can help you feel full sooner and stay satisfied with less food. They also slow the emptying of your stomach and the transit of food through your intestines, which contributes to feelings of fullness and reduced appetite.

The end result is that you consume few calories and lose excess weight over time. Studies show that people taking Semaglutide lost an average of 15% of their initial body weight, while those on the highest dose of Tirzepatide lost up to 22.5% of their body weight.

Dosage and Administration

Semaglutide and Tirzepatide are self-administered via subcutaneous injection once weekly. The doses are gradually increased over several months to minimize side effects as your body adjusts. The target maintenance dose will depend on how much weight you need to lose and your response to the medication. Your doctor will determine the appropriate dose and schedule for you based on factors like your BMI and weight loss goals.


Your body mass index, or BMI, is one measure of whether you may qualify for medical weight loss interventions to improve your health. If diet and exercise alone have not been effective and your BMI indicates you are obese, it may be time to speak with your doctor about prescription medication options. 

If you have a high BMI and want to learn about medical weight loss services at M Zafar MD SC, schedule a Telehealth consultation today.