fbpx Skip to content

ADVERTISEMENT

Body Mass Index Underestimates Obesity Levels

| Earn 1 CEC - Take Quiz

Recently, body mass index (BMI), which has been widely considered an effective measure of body fat, has come under scrutiny. According to researchers from Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York, the data produced from BMI measures may grossly underestimate a person’s true fat mass.

The study, published in PloS One (2012; 7 [4], e33308), focused on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans
to determine measures of muscle mass, bone density and fat mass in 9,088 individuals. Researchers classified 64% of those individuals as obese. However, BMI measurements indicated that only 26% were obese. Subjects’ average age was 51.

The scientists determined that to maintain accuracy, a specific BMI cutoff point of 28 for adult males and 24 for adult females should be adhered to when BMI is the sole measure being used. “These new cut-points [increase] diagnostic sensitivity with small losses in specificity,” the authors confirmed.

“Our results demonstrate the prevalence of false-negative BMIs, increased misclassifications in women of advancing age, and the reliability of gender-specific revised BMI cutoffs,” the authors concluded. “BMI underestimates obesity prevalence, especially in women with high leptin levels (>30 nanograms
per milliliter). Clinicians can use leptin-revised levels to enhance the accuracy of BMI estimates of percentage body fat when
DXA is unavailable.”

ideafit-plus-logo

Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.

ADVERTISEMENT

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up tp date with our latest news and products.