BMI an appropriate gauge of health risks, study finds

EHE International study published in Obesity Research and Clinical Practice

NEW YORK — A new study indicates body mass index is a reliable indicator of obesity-related health risks.

The study, published Saturday in the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, compared the merits of BMI to other measures of body size as a predictor of obesity-related cardiovascular health risks. The study's authors noted that some have questioned the validity of BMI.

"There has been a lot of controversy recently over whether BMI, which is based simply on weight and height, is a good clinical indicator of obesity-related health risks, especially when compared to more complex measures and newer technologies," Columbia University epidemiology professor Andrew Rundle said. "I wanted to see how well BMI performs compared to other proposed measures, and our research shows that BMI performs well as a predictor of health risks. If your BMI is heigh, chances are good it's because you have an excess of fat tissue and that you have other health risks."

Rundle and a team of researchers analyzed cross-sectional measurements of height, weight, waist circumference, percent body fat, blood pressure measurements, cholesterol levels and fasting glucose levels among more than 12,000 adults from a database maintained by EHE International, a 100-year-old provider of preventive medicine and annual physical exams. Rundle is a member of EHE's advisory board.

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