NEW YORK, March 30 (UPI) -- An analysis of 1,234 U.S. adults indicates a substantial under diagnosis of obesity when body mass index was used, researchers said.
Primary author Dr. Eric Braverman compared the BMI data -- a calculation that uses height and weight to determine amount of body fat -- to results on the study participants using Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry scans -- a direct measure of percentage body fat.
The study participants were classified as obese or non-obese based on the American Bariatric Society's classification of obesity, which is a BMI of 30 or higher and percent body fat of 25 or higher in males and percent body fat of 30 or higher in females.
"Extrapolating our data on a global scale, it is very likely that obesity is a much bigger epidemic than the 300 million people acknowledged by the World Health Organization," Braverman said in a statement.
The analysis is scheduled to be presented April 23 at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists 19th annual meeting in Boston.