Weight loss needs guided by body fat, not BMI

February 12, 2008 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Weight loss needs guided by body fat, not BMI

Measuring body fat, rather than body mass index (BMI), appears to be more effective at identifying people who need to lose weight, according to a new study published in the Nutrition Journal.

In this study, 23 men and 40 women aged 20 to 65 years old underwent body composition analysis. These healthy volunteers led sedentary lives and didn't eat low-calorie diets. BMI was compared to measurements of waist circumference and total percentage of body fat.

BMI is a ratio of body weight to height (kg/m2). Despite its limitations, criteria for being overweight or obese are determined using BMI.

BMI identified 11 percent of the group as needing urgent advice to lose weight.   Waist circumference measurements indicated about 25 percent needed immediate advice to help them shed pounds.

According to measures of total percentage of body fat, 29 percent of the study population should be strongly encouraged to lose weight.  

Health Canada has set waist circumference cut-offs at 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women. Those with higher waist circumferences are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.  

Click here to use our BMI calculator and compare it to your waist to hip ratio.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.