What factors may lead to an incorrect interpretation of BMI?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Although the BMI typically correlates closely with percentage body fat in a curvilinear fashion, some important caveats apply to its interpretation. In mesomorphic (muscular) persons, BMIs that usually indicate overweight or mild obesity may be spurious, whereas in some persons with sarcopenia (eg, elderly individuals and persons of Asian descent, particularly from South Asia), a typically normal BMI may conceal underlying excess adiposity characterized by an increased percentage of fat mass and reduced muscle mass.


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