Assessment of a proposed BMI formula in predicting body fat percentage among Filipino young adults

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Scientific Reports


© 2020, The Author(s). Body mass index (BMI), while routinely used in evaluating adiposity, cannot distinguish between fat and lean mass, and thus can misclassify weight status particularly among athletic, physically active, and tall- and short-statured individuals, whose lean-to-fat ratios and body proportions vary considerably from average individuals. Believing that the traditional BMI formula divides weight by too much with short people and by too little with tall people, University of Oxford professor L. N. Trefethen proposed a modified formula in computing BMI. This study was conducted among a sample of Filipino young adults (n = 190) to assess the performance of the modified BMI formula against the traditional one in: (1) predicting body fat percentage (%BF) measured using bioelectric impedance analysis, and (2) diagnosing overweight/obesity. Using robust polynomial regression analysis (covariates: age, waist circumference, smoking history and alcohol intake), the BMI quadratic models had the highest adjusted R2 and the lowest AIC and BIC for both sexes compared to the linear models. The AuROCs of the traditional BMI were higher than those of the proposed BMI, albeit nonsignificant. In conclusion, both traditional and modified BMIs significantly predicted %BF, as well as adequately discriminated between %BF-defined normal and overweight-obese states using optimal BMI cutoff values.

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