Fast Five Quiz: Are You Prepared to Face the Obesity Epidemic?

Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD

Disclosures

September 17, 2015

Although body mass index (BMI) typically correlates closely with percentage body fat in a curvilinear fashion, some important caveats apply to its interpretation. In mesomorphic (muscular) persons, the BMIs that usually indicate overweight or mild obesity may be spurious, whereas in some persons with sarcopenia (eg, elderly individuals and persons of Asian descent, particularly from South Asia), a typically normal BMI may conceal underlying excess adiposity characterized by an increased percentage of fat mass and reduced muscle mass.

In view of these limitations, some authorities advocate a definition of obesity based on percentage of body fat. For men, a percentage of body fat greater than 25% defines obesity, with 21%-25% being borderline. For women, over 33% defines obesity, with 31%-33% being borderline.

For more on the definition of obesity, read here.

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