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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2004 Nov 27;148(48):2379-82.

[The value and limitations of the body mass index (BMI) in the assessment of the health risks of overweight and obesity].

[Article in Dutch]

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Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, afd. Algemene Interne Geneeskunde, Postbus 9600, 2300 RC, Leiden.


--The Body Mass Index (BMI) is used as a measure of overweight and obesity. In epidemiological studies age, sex and ethnic background all have to be taken into consideration, particularly when determining the health risk caused by the amount of body fat. --Caution should be observed when using the BMI as a measure for interpreting overweight and obesity as body composition can be highly variable yet have the same BMI. Therefore, BMI is not a reliable measurement of body composition in individuals particularly in older and younger people. --Excess body fat in the visceral depot poses a separate health risk. The BMI does not give any insight into regional body fat distribution. Waist circumference is a valid index of visceral fat accumulation and can therefore be used as an indicator of health risks associated with visceral obesity.

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