Please note that we are seeing high patient volumes in the emergency department. Learn more >>.

Know before you go to the ER
Select the search type
  • Site
  • Web

Weight Management

The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital weight management program provides options to men and women who are significantly overweight and who have not been able to lose pounds by diet and exercise.

Excess weight and/or obesity is associated with a number of medical problems and life-threatening diseases including:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Joint disease
  • Cancer

Carrying extra weight contributes to impaired quality of life, including sleep disorders, knee and hip disorders and general mobility. Because of the impact of excess weight on a person’s life and longevity, Medicare and most insurance companies will support some or all medical and surgical treatments in approved centers.


The term overweight refers to having an excess of body weight compared to set standards, and obese means having an abnormally high accumulation of body fat. To determine whether a person is overweight or obese – and how overweight or obese an individual is – health care professionals frequently use the Body Mass Index, (BMI) to gauge a person’s weight in relation to their height. Other methods of estimating body fat and body fat distribution include measurements of skin-fold thickness and waist circumference, calculation of waist-to-hip circumference ratios, and techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Although obesity is defined as having a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2, weight loss surgery is considered only in patients between the ages of 18 and 70 who have a BMI of 40 or greater or a BMI of 35 or more with other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or sleep apnea. Patients must also have attempted a structured dietary weight loss program for at least six months without success. They must be evaluated and approved by a behavioral therapist, dietitian and physical therapist.


Treatment of obesity presents a difficult problem because each person's genetics, diet, lifestyle behaviors and level of physical activity are different.

The Weight Management Center is dedicated to the medical and surgical management of obesity. The multidisciplinary program involves physicians, psychologists, registered dietitians and physical therapists.

Because it's important for patients to be comfortable with any weight management program and those who administer it, the Weight Management Center offers a free orientation. The orientation allows interested persons to get a complete overview of the program. Additional screenings and assessments are conducted, if an individual wants to proceed with the program.


For appropriate patients, weight loss (bariatric) surgery is highly effective for producing long-term weight loss. This treatment option is for patients who are severely overweight with a body mass index of 35 or greater and a medical complication of obesity, or a body mass index of 40 or greater without other medical complications.

More information: Surgical Programs at a glance


For people who will profit from a highly structured treatment program to lose weight without surgery, this program provides weekly group sessions, medical monitoring, individualized meal planning with meal replacements and conventional foods, emotional support and instruction in movement and exercise.

More information: Non-surgical Program at a glance

2023 Best Hospitals - Gastroenterology and GI Surgery

#29 in the Nation (Tie) by U.S. News & World Report

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 866.867.3627
General Information: 314.747.3000
One Barnes-Jewish Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63110
© Copyright 1997-2024, Barnes-Jewish Hospital. All Rights Reserved.