Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

BMI not accurate enough: Obesity/mortality paradox demonstrates urgent need for more refined metabolic measures

Date:
August 22, 2013
Source:
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
Researchers point out that the body mass index (BMI), based on the weight and height, is not an accurate measure of body fat content and does not account for critical factors that contribute to health or mortality, such as fat distribution, proportion of muscle to fat, and the sex and racial differences in body composition.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine point out that the body mass index (BMI), based on the weight and height, is not an accurate measure of body fat content and does not account for critical factors that contribute to health or mortality, such as fat distribution, proportion of muscle to fat, and the sex and racial differences in body composition.

Obesity predisposes to diabetes, heart diseases, sleep apnea, cancer and other diseases. Although several studies have shown an increase in mortality in obese people, recent studies have suggested that obesity protects against death from all causes as well as death due to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart failure, and stroke. This so-called "obesity-mortality" paradox suggesting a beneficial influence of obesity has generated a lot of controversy.

In a new perspective article in the journal Science, Rexford Ahima, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Obesity Unit in the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, and Mitchell Lazar, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Genetics and Director of the Institute of Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, discuss the challenges of studying the health and mortality risks of obesity.

"There is an urgent need for accurate, practical and affordable tools to measure fat and skeletal muscle, and biomarkers that can better predict the risks of diseases and mortality," said Dr. Ahima. "Advances to improve the measurement of obesity and related factors will help determine the optimal weight for an individual, taking into account factors such as age, sex, genetics, fitness, pre-existing diseases, as well novel blood markers and metabolic parameters altered by obesity."

Obese BMI is strongly associated with substantial increases in the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other chronic diseases, leading to higher mortality, However, studies have shown that some people with obese BMI have improved metabolic profile and reduced cardiovascular risk, whereas a subset of people with normal BMI are metabolically unhealthy and have increased mortality risk. The researchers note that the true impact of obesity may not be appreciated because population studies often describe associations of BMI and health and mortality risks without assessing how intentional or unintentional weight loss or weight gain affect these outcomes.

"Future research should be focused more on molecular pathways, especially how metabolic factors altered by obesity change the development of diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and other ailments, and influence the health status and mortality," noted Dr. Lazar.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. S. Ahima, M. A. Lazar. The Health Risk of Obesity--Better Metrics Imperative. Science, 2013; 341 (6148): 856 DOI: 10.1126/science.1241244

Cite This Page:

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "BMI not accurate enough: Obesity/mortality paradox demonstrates urgent need for more refined metabolic measures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822141948.htm>.
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. (2013, August 22). BMI not accurate enough: Obesity/mortality paradox demonstrates urgent need for more refined metabolic measures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822141948.htm
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "BMI not accurate enough: Obesity/mortality paradox demonstrates urgent need for more refined metabolic measures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822141948.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins