A panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers recommended a broader use of the lap-band system to combat the nation's obesity problem.
Allergen’s lap-band system is a stomach band that limits the amount of food a person can intake. An alternative to gastric bypass surgery, the lap-band was available only to morbidly obese patients with a body mass index higher than 40. Under the panel’s recommendation, a person with a BMI of 35 or higher, and in some cases as low as 30, would be eligible for the surgery; the change would mean that more than 27 million people could benefit from the procedure, according to the Associated Press.
One-third of Americans have a BMI of 30 or higher, which is considered obese. High body mass is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and other major health issues.
FDA is expected to make a final decision on the lap-band recommendation in the coming months.