Already Fat Americans May be Fatter than We Think


It's no secret than Americans on the whole are overweight, but a new study claims that even more Americans are obese than previously thought.

The conventional way to determine if a person is obese is to look at their body mass index (BMI). However, a new study said BMI readings can be misleading, so it looked at people's body fat instead.

Time magazine reports that researchers at the Path Foundation in New York City compared BMI to body fat readings of 1,400 men and women. They found that 39% of them who were classified as overweight by their BMIs are actually obese based on their body fat numbers.

"People aren’t being diagnosed (as obese), so they’re not being told about their risk of disease or being given instruction on how to improve their health," lead author Dr. Eric Braverman told

Braverman said based on his study, 60% of Americans should be classified as obese instead of the current 33%.

The study points out that BMI numbers may be more misleading for women than for men, since women lose bone and muscle and replace it with fat faster than men. And since BMI doesn't measure weight distribution, "t’s the percent of body fat, not BMI, that makes you obese," Braverman said.

The study is published in the medical journal PLos One.


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