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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Obesity - Weight Loss -

The skinny on BMI

Obesity • • Weight LossApr 07, 08

“The definition of obesity is having excess fat,” says Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and lead author of a study on what researchers are calling “normal weight obesity.” It was presented last week at the American College of Cardiology’s annual science session in Chicago. “For years we’ve been using BMI to diagnose obesity, but the first question we had was ‘Is it possible to be normal weight but have excess fat?’ “

Researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that among 2,127 men and women of normal weight and BMIs between 18.5 and 24.9, almost half had excess fat—20% of total body composition for men and 30% for women. (Although acceptable levels of body fat vary, most experts agree these numbers are high.) Compared with those without excess fat, they also were 2 1/2 times more likely to have metabolic syndrome.

“Better than trying to do just an eyeball diagnosis, we probably need to measure body fat,” Lopez-Jimenez says. “If people do have high body fat, it means that they might have similar cardiovascular risks as obese patients.”

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By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 7, 2008

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