Monday, November 29, 2010

Singapore obesity and the BMI

The recently completed National Health Survey showed a jump in the prevalence of obesity from 6.9% in 2004, to 10.8% in 2010. Strangely I can't find the report of the important survey online. Since it is unclear what the definitions of obesity here are, I must assume the survey used the WHO internationally accepted definitions of a BMI cut-off of 30 kg/m2. Between 25-30 kg/m2, you would just be overweight.

(You can check your BMI here.)

The problem with this definition is that Asians and women have greater percentage of body fat for any given BMI. What this means is that we are more 'obese' than we think by applying international (mostly Caucasian) definitions.

Regular exercises reduces primarily body fat and reduces( improves) the BMI. However, weight exercises which bulk up muscle tissue may artifactually increase the BMI.

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