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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2010 Apr;135(17):848-52. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1253666. Epub 2010 Apr 20.

[Percentiles of body mass index of 18-80-year-old German adults based on data from the Second National Nutrition Survey].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Medizinische Biometrie und Statistik, Universität zu Lübeck, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck.



Obesity is associated with an increasing risk of morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obesity as a body mass index (BMI) > or = 30.0 kg/m2. In contrast, percentiles depending on age and sex are used in adolescence.


Using the LMS method, age and gender specific BMI percentiles for adulthood are estimated. Data basis is the Second Germany National Nutrition Survey (NVS II) which was surveyed in 2005 and 2006. This study is representative for the German population, and it is based on more than 13,000 adults.


Percentiles increase in both sexes with age. It can be observed in females in nearly all age groups. In males, percentiles are saturated around the sixth decade. Only 9 % of 20 to 29 years old adults are obese using WHO criteria, while there are 29 % of 60 to 69 years old adults having a BMI > or = 30.0 kg/m2.


Percentiles reflect age and sex dependencies of the BMI. They show that there is a larger part of the population in higher BMI intervals with increasing age. Thus, the adequacy of the WHO definition should be questioned. Based on the NVS II, current and representative BMI percentiles for adulthood are now available for Germany. These can be used as base for age and sex dependent evaluation of the BMI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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