Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

BMI as Measure of Obesity in Postmenopausal Women

Menopause; ePub 2017 Nov 13; Banack, et al

In postmenopausal women, a body mass index (BMI) cut-point of 30 kg/m does not appear to be an appropriate indicator of true obesity status, a recent study found. Data from 1,329 postmenopausal women (aged 53 to 85 years) participating in the Buffalo OsteoPerio Study were used in the analysis. Obesity was defined as BMI ≥30 kg/m and body fat percent (BF%) >35%, 38%, or 40%. Researchers found:

  • The sensitivity of BMI-defined obesity was 32.4% for 35% body fat, 44.6% for 38% body fat, and 55.2% for 40% body fat.
  • Corresponding specificity values were 99.3%, 97.1%, and 94.6%, respectively.
  • The empirical optimal cut-point to define obesity is 24.9 kg/m for 35% BF, 26.49 kg/m for 38% BF, and 27.05 kg/m for 40% BF, using Youden’s index.


Banack HR, Wactawski-Wende J, Hovey KM, Stokes, A. Is BMI a valid measure of obesity in postmenopausal women? [Published online ahead of print November 13, 2017]. Menopause. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000989.

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