Published on April 3rd, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
US Fatter Than Originally Thought, Study Indicates
The US is known (among other things) in the developed world for having a bit of a weight problem, but a new study says that recent estimates may be vastly underestimating America’s vastness.
The findings, published in the journal PLoS ONE, concern the often-derided Body Mass Index, its measurement of obesity and who is classified as obese under the index. Many reject the scale for not taking into account differences between individual frames and relying solely on certain numbers (height and weight) to calculate whether a person is classified as obese. But by that method of calculation, the study determines, as many as 39% of Americans who are not classified as obese may actually fall into that category.
The BBC quotes nutrition expert Dr. Margaret Ashwell, who believes waist to height ratio is a better indicator of obesity, since it measures “central obesity”- the notoriously unhealthy collection of fat around a patient’s midsection, correlated with more serious side effects. Ashwell says:
“It is a real worry that using BMI alone for screening could miss people who are at risk from central obesity and might also be alarming those whose risk is not as great as it appears from their BMI.”
By the study’s criteria, more than 64% of American women would be classified as “obese.”