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AHA: Tools, Challenges for Assessing Adiposity Identified

BMI and waist circumference identified as the primary tools for assessing adiposity

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) should be used as primary tools for assessing adiposity, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published online Sept. 26 in Circulation.

Marc-Andre Cornier, M.D., from the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues reviewed the epidemiology of obesity, its related comorbidities, and the challenges and methods for assessing adiposity in adults. Practical recommendations were provided for practicing clinicians to help identify more at-risk overweight/obese individuals.

The investigators reported that 68 percent of U.S. adults, and 31.7 percent of children aged 2 to 19 years, were obese or overweight in 2007 to 2008, with significant regional and racial differences in prevalence. The problems in assessing adiposity include the heterogeneity of obesity, the inability of BMI to discriminate the risk of chronic disease at an individual level, regional body fat distribution, and differences in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue and liver fat content. Adiposity can be assessed by measuring total body fat mass (body weight, BMI), fat distribution (WC, hip, lower body, neck circumference, and their respective ratios), body composition (including anthropometry and skinfold thickness) and ectopic fat, and the changes in these parameters. It is recommended that BMI and WC should be the primary tools for assessing adiposity. Body weight maintenance and healthy lifestyle should be recommended to all individuals, with more aggressive intervention for those at higher risk (with high BMI and WC).

"Those individuals with an elevated BMI or with a disproportionally high WC for a given BMI should have other cardiometabolic risk factors evaluated for further risk stratification and should be targeted for a healthier lifestyle and body weight," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and health care industries.

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