Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Another Problem with BMI — the Obesity Paradox

Body Mass Index (kilograms/meter2), or BMI, is now the most widely used index of obesity. But it’s become apparent that it is flawed in more than one way (we’ve explained some of these issues here and here). And a new Canadian study points to the possibility that use of BMI may be responsible for the oft-cited observation that some folks with high BMIs seem to be healthier than those in the normal range — the obesity paradox.

The study authors, led by Dr. Raj Padwal from the Department of  General Internal Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta  Canada, utilized a database of people aged 40 and up who had had DXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) imaging to determine bone mineral density. This imaging also provided a measure of the percentage of body fat, and the investigators compared the all-cause mortality risk predicted by BMI with that predicted by percent body fat to see which would be most accurate.

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