Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Obesity: BMI v bodyfat%

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines ‘obese’ as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 plus. It’s easy to work out BMI from just weight and height.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obese for women as a bodyfat of 35% plus. Truly accurate measurement of bodyfat% is hard, thus BMI = 30+ is more commonly used.

Professor Mahbubur Rahman used highly accurate dual energy X-ray absorption to compare NIH and WHO guidelines, in 555 white, black and Hispanic women aged 20-33.

One finding was that different cutoffs needed to be applied in each of the 3 ethnic groups.

Results varied enormously depending on whether the NIH or WHO level was used. In total, 36.9% were obese on NIH’s BMI, but 63.1% on WHO’s bodyfat test.

Rahman found that the BMI values which matched the WHO guideline for obese were 25.5, 28.7 and 26.2 for white, black and Hispanic women respectively.

Rahman expects to find a similar lowering/ethnic difference in men.


April 22, 2010 - Posted by | BMI - body mass index, Bodyfat%, Diet, Mahbubur Rahman, NIH - National Institutes of Health, Obesity, United States, Weight management, WHO - World Health Organization

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: