Relationship between Body Mass Index and Percent Body Fat in Vietnamese: Implications for the Diagnosis of Obesity.

PloS one

PubMedID: 26018910

Ho-Pham LT, Lai TQ, Nguyen MT, Nguyen TV. Relationship between Body Mass Index and Percent Body Fat in Vietnamese: Implications for the Diagnosis of Obesity. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(5):e0127198.
BACKGROUND
The burden of obesity in Vietnam has not been well defined because there is a lack of reference data for percent body fat (PBF) in Asians. This study sought to define the relationship between PBF and body mass index (BMI) in the Vietnamese population.

METHODS
The study was designed as a comparative cross-sectional investigation that involved 1217 individuals of Vietnamese background (862 women) aged 20 years and older (average age 47 yr) who were randomly selected from the general population in Ho Chi Minh City. Lean mass (LM) and fat mass (FM) were measured by DXA (Hologic QDR 4500). PBF was derived as FM over body weight.

RESULTS
Based on BMI =30, the prevalence of obesity was 1.1% and 1.3% for men and women, respectively. The prevalence of overweight and obesity combined (BMI =25) was ~24% and ~19% in men and women, respectively. Based on the quadratic relationship between BMI and PBF, the approximate PBF corresponding to the BMI threshold of 30 (obese) was 30.5 in men and 41 in women. Using the criteria of PBF >30 in men and PBF >40 in women, approximately 15% of men and women were considered obese.

CONCLUSION
These data suggest that body mass index underestimates the prevalence of obesity. We suggest that a PBF >30 in men or PBF >40 in women is used as criteria for the diagnosis of obesity in Vietnamese adults. Using these criteria, 15% of Vietnamese adults in Ho Chi Minh City was considered obese.