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BMI Scale Not An Accurate Measure of Obesity.

In a study published in the April 2009 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, Researchers from the University of Houston and Baylor College of Medicine came to the conclusion that certain ethnic groups may not be getting accurate estimates of disease risk when they try to determine obesity using the traditional body mass index scale.

HHP faculty Dr. Andrew Jackson and Dr. Brian McFarlin are part of the research team that concluded body fat indicated by the BMI scale would vary with ethnicity. Dr. Jackson is the lead author of the study. Other researchers in the study are Dr. Molly Bray, associate professor of pediatrics - nutrition at the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at BCM and Texas Children's Hospital. Drs. Kenneth J. Ellis and Mary H. Sailors, both of the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at BCM and TCH; Dr. John Foreyt, professor of medicine, psychiatry and behavioral sciences at BCM.

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A quote from from one of the study authors, Dr. Molly Bray:

"Our research shows that the number used to indicate weight category does not reflect the same amount of body fat for some races compared to others," said Dr. Molly Bray, associate professor of pediatrics - nutrition at the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at BCM and Texas Children's Hospital. "The results are consistent with other studies that say BMI is inexact and should be tailored to help target those at risk."

The study participants were recruited from the TIGER (Training Intervention and Genetics of Exercise Response)study at HHP. It is designed to investigate how variation in DNA sequence may influence levels of body fatness and fitness.

Read the entire article (pdf)

Visit the British Journal of Nutrition website

Visit The TIGER (Training Intervention and Genetics of Exercise Response) study website