Navigation Links
Rethinking body mass index (BMI) for assessing cancer risk

November 8, 2012 (Bronx, NY) A study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University suggests that body mass index (BMI)the most commonly used weight-for-height formula for estimating fatnessmay not be the best measure for estimating disease risk, and particularly the risk of certain types of cancer. The study was published today in the online edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight (in kilograms) by his or her height in meters squared, or W/H2. Most of the early studies that used the formula, starting roughly sixty years ago, were conducted among middle-aged men. BMI has become the most widely-used weight-for-height index in large population studies of children and adults, thanks mainly to its ease of calculation and the ready availability of weight and height data. Newer technologies have since been developed for measuring body fat, but they can be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.

A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered ideal; obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or greater. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the higher one's BMI, the greater the risk for a range of diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

"It has long been recognized that BMI is an imperfect indicator of body fat because weight does not distinguish between lean body mass (muscle, bones, blood, water) and fat mass," said lead author Geoffrey C. Kabat, Ph.D., senior epidemiologist in the department of epidemiology & population health at Einstein. "This means that two individuals can have the same BMI but can have very different percentage of body fat." Furthermore, when using weight and height data, a single BMI formula may not be appropriate for all populations and all diseases."

The goal of the current study was to determine whether alternative weight-for-height measures resulted in stronger associations with risk of specific cancers compared to BMI. Using weight and height data on nearly 90,000 Canadian women enrolled in the Canadian National Breast Screening Study, the researchers varied the BMI formula changing the value of x in W/Hx to see whether any of these variations on BMI better predicted the risk of 19 different cancers.

All values of x in W/Hx that showed significant associations with specific cancers were below the value of 2.0 (i.e., BMI) and included 0.8 for endometrial cancer, 1.3 for lung cancer in those who never smoked, and 1.7 for postmenopausal breast cancer.

While these findings need to be confirmed in other studies, they suggest that the optimal value of W/Hx may differ depending on the population studied as well as on the disease of interest, and that BMI may not be optimal for all purposes.


Contact: Kim Newman
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Childrens self-control is associated with their body mass index as adults
2. The Journal of Injury, Function and Rehabilitation to be covered in Reuters Indexing Database
3. Assessing the risk of heart attack and stroke among Hispanics
4. Assessing the cost of the Affordable Care Act and expanding Medicaid
5. Study examines use of a natural language processing tool for electronic health records in assessing colonoscopy quality
6. Assessing Olympic terrorism threats
7. New targeted therapy for advanced prostate cancer shows anti-tumor activity in clinical trials
8. Patients with aberrations in two genes respond better to drugs blocking a well-known cancer pathway
9. Heart Failure Patients May Be at Higher Risk for Cancer: Study
10. Higher dietary glycemic load linked to worse colon cancer survival
11. Starchy, high carbohydrate diet associated with recurrence of colon cancer
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... management services, today announced its partnership with WPC Healthcare , a provider ... systems and organizes the data into an aggregated data repository necessary to perform ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... announced today their sponsorship of the Microsoft Dynamics AXUG, GPUG and NAVUG Summits ... GPUG Summit and NAVUG Summit are independent user conferences designed and led by ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... Relay (, a technology company that ... significant contract that will provide its award-winning private messaging solution to Independence Blue ... success of its Relay program, IBX Wire™, which now has over 550,000 members ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... ... A child without a healthy mouth is much more likely to have ... system, has joined with Global Dental Relief (GDR) to help bring dental ... purchased, SmileCareClub will donate one clinic visit to a child in Kenya. , “When ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... targets the unique health needs of new moms. Postnatal Omega-3, which has ... ), utilizes Nordic Naturals’ exclusive, new, ultra-concentrated omega-3 oil. This breakthrough ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... Oct. 13, 2015  SeraCare Life Sciences, a leading ... that the company,s precision medicine business unit has launched ... materials for next-generation sequencing (NGS)-based tumor profiling assays.  The ... the same mixture of mutations in key oncogenes and ... AF20 mix , but is offered at five additional ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... 2015  Graduate students across the country, with ... will soon have the opportunity to learn about ... drug discovery and development process. Eli Lilly and ... 10 leaders from academic institutions to create an ... of Drug Development."  Lilly will formally unveil the ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... WASHINGTON , Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... the first-ever direct-to-consumer laboratory home testing kit ... and digital technologies provide an unparalleled, detailed ... of breast milk—fats, proteins, carbs and key ... digital portal for personal health tracking.  In addition, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: