Why are there race/ethnic differences in adult body mass index-adiposity relationships? A quantitative critical review

S. B. Heymsfield, C. M. Peterson, D. M. Thomas, Moonseong Heo, J. M. Schuna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Body mass index (BMI) is now the most widely used measure of adiposity on a global scale. Nevertheless, intense discussion centers on the appropriateness of BMI as a phenotypic marker of adiposity across populations differing in race and ethnicity. BMI-adiposity relations appear to vary significantly across race/ethnic groups, but a collective critical analysis of these effects establishing their magnitude and underlying body shape/composition basis is lacking. Accordingly, we systematically review the magnitude of these race-ethnic differences across non-Hispanic (NH) white, NH black and Mexican American adults, their anatomic body composition basis and potential biologically linked mechanisms, using both earlier publications and new analyses from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Our collective observations provide a new framework for critically evaluating the quantitative relations between BMI and adiposity across groups differing in race and ethnicity; reveal new insights into BMI as a measure of adiposity across the adult age-span; identify knowledge gaps that can form the basis of future research and create a quantitative foundation for developing BMI-related public health recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-275
Number of pages14
JournalObesity Reviews
Volume17
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

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Adiposity
Body Mass Index
Body Composition
Nutrition Surveys
Ethnic Groups
Public Health
Population

Keywords

  • Adiposity
  • Allometric analysis
  • Body composition
  • Body shape
  • Nutritional assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Cite this

Why are there race/ethnic differences in adult body mass index-adiposity relationships? A quantitative critical review. / Heymsfield, S. B.; Peterson, C. M.; Thomas, D. M.; Heo, Moonseong; Schuna, J. M.

In: Obesity Reviews, Vol. 17, No. 3, 01.03.2016, p. 262-275.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Heymsfield, S. B. ; Peterson, C. M. ; Thomas, D. M. ; Heo, Moonseong ; Schuna, J. M. / Why are there race/ethnic differences in adult body mass index-adiposity relationships? A quantitative critical review. In: Obesity Reviews. 2016 ; Vol. 17, No. 3. pp. 262-275.
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