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Under-diagnosis of Obesity when Using Body Mass Index (BMI)

  • Published: 2010-03-29 : Author: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
  • Synopsis: New Research Indicates a Massive Under-diagnosis of Obesity when Using Body Mass Index (BMI).

Main Document

New Research Indicates a Massive Under-diagnosis of Obesity when Using Body Mass Index (BMI).

A retrospective analysis of 1,234 Americans indicated a substantial under-diagnosis of obesity when Body Mass Index (BMI) was used compared to the Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. This analysis will be released on Friday, April 23, 2010 at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 19th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress in Boston.

To date, no large-scale comparison has been made between BMI and DEXA, a direct measure of percentage body fat. A team of physicians and scientists from PATH Foundation NY reviewed the medical records of 1,234 patients from 2003 to 2009 to obtain BMI (from height and weight) and percentage body fat (from Hologic DEXA). Subjects were classified as obese or non-obese based on the American Bariatric Society's classification of obesity, which is a BMI of 30 or higher and percent body fat of 25 or higher in males and percent body fat of 30 or higher in females.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traditionally consider an adult with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 as overweight while an adult with a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

"Extrapolating our data on a global scale, it is very likely that obesity is a much bigger epidemic than the 300 million people acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO)," Eric Braverman, MD, a primary author of the study said.

Also at the AACE 19th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress, experts will talk about pediatric transgender issues, appropriate glycemic targets from recent trials and their translation into patient care, as well as the role of continuous glucose monitors in 2010.

Additional news from the AACE 19th Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress can be found at or by following the meeting live at the Twitter hashtag #AACE10.

About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)

AACE is a professional medical organization with more than 6,000 members in the United States and 91 other countries. AACE members are physicians who specialize in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism. For more information about AACE, visit our Web site at, become a fan on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at


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