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Obesity is at epidemic levels in the US. In the past 20 years the trend toward obesity has been dramatic to the point where there are now only 4 states, Hawaii, Colorado, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where less than 20% of the population has a body mass index of less than 30.

Two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, are the only states that top 30% of the population being at obese levels.

Obesity is the most talked about topic in my blogs simply because it is topped only by smoking as a situation that has so many potential collateral health issues. You can talk dieting, medication, hypnosis, exercise, and in the end. like Will from ABC’s Fat March put it, “you’re addicted, and until you can break that addiction, none of those things work”.

Certainly a last resort type of choice is gastric bypass surgery. With gastric bypass most of the stomach is stapled off from a very small stomach. The small intestine is then attached to the new small stomach and a person simply cannot eat the way they used to as it takes very little food to be full.

There are some risks to the surgery, but compared with the benefits, if this is the only way a person can effectively get rid of the excess weight, the risks are acceptable to many. I have had clients who have lost anywhere from 100-200 pounds after surgery.

From a life insurance underwriting standpoint, what they want to see post surgery is 1-2 years of stable weight after the weight loss. Generally weight loss will go on for a year or more, so we are talking about 2-4 years after the surgery before most insurance companies will jump on board and reward you with low rates.

Should you wait until after surgery to buy life insurance? My professional recommendation is that, in spite of the fact that the cost may not be as palatable as the food that got you into this situation, you should put as much term insurance in force as you need, or at least as much as you can afford, well before committing to gastric bypass surgery. I simply can’t see any good reason to put off buying insurance you need for 2-4 years if you can afford it.

Bottom line. Life insurance underwriters do reward successful weight loss due by gastric bypass, but it won’t happen soon. Even the most aggressive companies will require a year of stable weight and most will require two years.