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Body Mass Index and Percentage Body Fat as Health Indicators for Young Adults

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Objectives : To investigate the validity of an axiom that body mass index (BMI) and percentage body fat (BF), above an ideal, are health risk factors.

Methods : Participants were 2615 volunteers who participated in a health-screening program conducted in college residence halls over a consecutive 8-year period.

Results : Nearly half of all participants were misclassified when BMI and/or BF were used to define better versus poorer health whether analyzing all variables together, by individual factor, or by type of variable.

Conclusions : Results of this study indicate that BMI and BF are poor indicators of health status among young adults.

Keywords: body mass index; college students; health risk indicators; percentage body fat; screening tests

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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