Ready for a morning shocker?
TWICE as many U.S. adults have obesity based on a new screening tool—compared to body mass index (BMI) measurements.
And considering more than half of the U.S. population is considered overweight or obese based on their BMI…
It’s safe to say I’m thoroughly shocked by this revelation.
Because now we’re adding even MORE people to the mix—and that’s tragic.
Worse than expected
BMI has never been a beloved tool for measuring obesity. It’s far from a perfect model, but the up side is that it doesn’t cost a thing.
Meanwhile, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans help differentiate between lean muscle versus fat tissue. (But they’re expensive.)
A new study collected data from nearly 10,000 U.S. adults, average age of 39, who participated in several National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.
All participants underwent a DEXA assessment of their total body fat—in addition to a BMI calculation.
Ultimately, researchers found that DEXA rated 74 percent of adults as obese, compared to “just” 36 percent, based on BMI.
That’s over twice the amount!
Now, it’s not really feasible to perform DEXA scans on everyone. It’s quite an expense. And, if you ask me, assessing rates of overweight and obesity can really come from a glance.
Enough is enough
The American Medical Association (AMA) suggests that BMI measurements should “be used in conjunction with other valid measures of risk such as, but not limited to, measurements of visceral fat, body adiposity index, body composition, relative fat mass, waist circumference, and genetic/metabolic factors.”
Now that clears everything up…
What stuns me most about this is that being overweight and obese is a main reason why Americans live less than the people of every other developed nation—yet we simply can’t tackle the topic head on.
The first step is to make policies that encourage healthy eating and exercise. You know, lifestyle prescriptions!
But, instead, the burden of this predicament will continue to weigh (pun intended) into everything from sizes of clothes to sizes of coffins. When will enough be enough?!
Just take this as a shining example, as stated by the study author…
While DEXA isn’t cost effective, measuring waist circumference may be difficult, but it could be overcome with proper physician training.
How much training does it take to put a tape measure around a patient’s waist? (For the record, a waist measurement is taken at the belly button level.)
I personally have a device at my office that measures both weight and body fat percentage. It uses a small electric current. And it’s cheap enough for every doctor’s office to have.
So, once again, my biggest question remains: When will we do something about these skyrocketing obesity rates?
“BMI ‘Vastly Underestimates’ True Obesity.” Medscape, 06/17/2023. (medscape.com/viewarticle/993366)