Alternative methods for measuring obesity in African American Women

Ashley E. Clark, Jacquelyn Y. Taylor, Chun Yi Wu, Jennifer A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of body mass index (BMI†) may not be the most appropriate measurement tool in determining obesity in diverse populations. We studied a convenience sample of 108 African American (AA) women to determine the best method for measuring obesity in this at-risk population. The purpose of this study was to determine if percent body fat (PBF) and percent body water (PBW) could be used as alternatives to BMI in predicting obesity and risk for hypertension (HTN) among AA women. After accounting for age, BMI, and the use of anti-hypertensive medication, PBF (p = 0.0125) and PBW (p = 0.0297) were significantly associated with systolic blood pressure, while BMI was not. Likewise, PBF (p = 0.0316) was significantly associated with diastolic blood pressure, while PBW and BMI were not. Thus, health care practitioners should consider alternative anthropometric measurements such as PBF when assessing obesity in AA women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalYale Journal of Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • African American
  • Body mass index
  • Obesity
  • Percent body fat
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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