Changing the threshold of body mass index that indicates obesity affects health targets

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7060.815c (Published 28 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:815
  1. Tony Hill, Director of public health,
  2. Julian Roberts, Surveys officer
  1. South Humber Health Authority, Brigg, North Lincolnshire DN20 8GS
  2. Somerset Health Authority, Taunton, Somerset TA2 7PQ

    EDITOR,—Body mass index, calculated from a subject's height and weight, is widely used to indicate obesity.1 Although the index is acknowledged as an adequate summary of obesity, the thresholds for categorising underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obesity have varied. In the past, different thresholds were accepted for men and women, with women broadly requiring a lower body mass index for inclusion in each category.2 Underweight was indicated in a man by a body mass index of <20.0 and in a woman by a body mass index of <18.6. Obesity …

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