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Objectives: The objective of this study is to compare body mass index (BMI), percent body fat (PBF), and fat mass index (FMI) and to investigate the accuracy of FMI as a convenient tool for assessing obesity.

Design: Anthropometric measurements and bioelectrical impedance analyses were performed on 538 Mexican Americans (373 women and 165 men). Correlations between BMI and PBF and between FMI and PBF were investigated. The percentage of persons misclassified as obese using different classifications was calculated. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to generate predictive models of FMI for males and females separately.

Results: BMI and PBF were correlated in men (rho = 0.877; P < 0.0001) and women (rho = 0.966; P < 0.0001); however, 20 and 67.2% of the men and 9.2 and 84.2% of women, classified as normal weight and overweight by BMI, respectively, were diagnosed as obese by PBF. FMI and PBF were also correlated in men (rho = 0.975; P < 0.0001) and women (rho = 0.992; P < 0.0001). Four percent of the men classified as normal weight and 65.5% classified as overweight by BMI were obese by FMI, while 71.3% of women classified as overweight by BMI were obese by FMI. Misclassification of obesity between FMI and PBF categories was observed in 5.4% of men and 7.8% of women.

Conclusions: The discrepancy observed between BMI and PBF reflects a limitation of BMI. Conversely, FMI accurately assessed obesity in our study of Mexican Americans, but further studies are necessary to confirm our findings in different ethnic groups.


Publication Title

American Journal of Human Biology



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Diseases Commons



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