TitleWhy are there race/ethnic differences in adult body mass index-adiposity relationships? A quantitative critical review.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsHeymsfield, SB, Peterson, CM, Thomas, DM, Heo, M, Schuna, Jr, JM
JournalObes Rev
Date Published2016 Mar
KeywordsAdiposity, Body Composition, Body Height, Body Image, Body Mass Index, Continental Population Groups, Ethnic Groups, Evaluation Studies as Topic, Humans, Nutrition Assessment, Nutrition Surveys, Obesity, Waist Circumference

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.

Alternate JournalObes Rev
PubMed ID26663309
PubMed Central IDPMC4968570
Grant ListP30 DK040561 / DK / NIDDK NIH HHS / United States
1 U54 GM104940 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
P30 DK072476 / DK / NIDDK NIH HHS / United States
U54 GM104940 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
R01 DK109008 / DK / NIDDK NIH HHS / United States