More Evidence that BMI Does Not Tell the Whole Story

The Annals of Internal Medicine’s latest edition calls attention to a high-risk segment of the population:  those individuals with a normal BMI but with a high body fat percentage.

Normal BMI?  How could that be possible?  Most clinicians tell our patients that they are doing great with their normal BMIs.  But just how at risk are these patients, really?

The Annals study authors found that people with normal BMIs and abnormal accumulation of abdominal fat had a significantly higher risk of death, than individuals with a BMI of 30 or greater.    

Doctors have noted this anecdotally in clinical practice:  take the huge preponderance of relatively thin males presenting to the ER with massive heart attacks.  Not what one might expect.  

This is another reminder that obesity cannot be defined by BMI alone.   Patting ourselves on the back for being ‘skinny fat’ is false reassurance.   And another reason why at OSR Weight Management in Kailua, our comprehensive assessment of metabolic risk for each and every patient goes way beyond BMI – that ubiquitous but severely misleading number that is likely leading us to undertreat adiposity.


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