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Obes Res. 2002 Aug;10(8):799-808.

Assessing the validity of body mass index standards in early postmenopausal women.

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1
Department of Physiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the relationship between percentage of total body fat (%Fat) and body mass index (BMI) in early postmenopausal women and to evaluate the validity of the BMI standards for obesity established by the NIH.

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES:

Three hundred seventeen healthy, sedentary, postmenopausal women (ages, 40 to 66 years; BMI, 18 to 35 kg/m(2); 3 to 10 years postmenopausal) participated in the study. Height, weight, BMI, and %Fat, as assessed by DXA, were measured. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was performed to evaluate the ability of BMI to discriminate obesity from non-obesity using 38%Fat as the criterion value.

RESULTS:

A moderately high relationship was observed between BMI and %Fat (r = 0.81; y = 1.41x + 2.65) with a SE of estimate of 3.9%. Eighty-one percent of other studies examined fell within 1 SE of estimate as derived from our study. Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that BMI is a good diagnostic test for obesity. The cutoff for BMI corresponding to the criterion value of 38%Fat that maximized the sum of the sensitivity and specificity was 24.9 kg/m(2). The true-positive (sensitivity) and false-positive (1--specificity) rates were 84.4% and 14.6%, respectively. The area under the curve estimate for BMI was 0.914.

DISCUSSION:

There is a strong association between %Fat and BMI in postmenopausal women. Current NIH BMI-based classifications for obesity may be misleading based on currently proposed %Fat standards. BMI >25 kg/m(2) rather than BMI >30 kg/m(2) may be superior for diagnosing obesity in postmenopausal women.

PMID:
12181389
DOI:
10.1038/oby.2002.108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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