US obesity rates underestimated say researchers

| 03/04/2012

2300-204_162-10008479-2 (260x300).jpg(CBS): America may have a worse weight problem than anyone thought. Current estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show roughly one-third of Americans are obese. But the authors behind a new study that questions the test commonly used to measure obesity think that rate might be underestimated. "Roughly 30 percent of Americans are obese," based on their body mass index (BMI), study author Dr. Eric Braverman, president of the nonprofit research group, the Path Foundation in New York City. "But when you use other methods, closer to 60 percent are obese. We call BMI the 'baloney mass index.'

Authors of the study say the BMI measurement leads to many false diagnoses. For their study, the researchers reviewed more than 9,000 charts of patients who visited a medical private practice in New York City. Patients were an average of 51 years old, and 63 percent were women. Researchers wanted to compare how BMI tests measured against a different test to measure obesity, called a duel-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The DXA is a machine that uses x-rays to measure muscle, bone mass and body fat.

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