How Obesity Affects BMI and Other Measuring Techniques
People who are overweight or obese on the BMI chart have a greater chance of developing many medical conditions, including:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High cholesterol or other lipid disorders
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Certain cancers
- Sleep apnea
- Gallbladder disease
- Fatty liver disease.
Even a small weight loss (just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight) will help to lower your risk of developing those diseases.
(Click BMI and Weight for more information on assessing your risk for obesity-related medical problems.)
The BMI score is valid for both men and women, but it does have some limits. When BMI is used to calculate body fatness:
- It may underestimate body fat in older people and others who have lost muscle mass.
- It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.
Not including BMI, there are a number of different ways to measure body fatness. These other methods include:
- Underwater weighing
- Skinfold thickness measurements (with calipers)
- Bioelectrical impedance
- Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA)
- Computerized tomography.
These other methods of measuring body fatness are more accurate than BMI. However, these methods are not always readily available, and they are either expensive or require highly trained personnel.