Proposed BMI changes could label millions of Brits obese: are you at risk? | Bristol Live

A proposal to modernize the body mass index (BMI) classification could see millions of Britons classified as obese. The BMI system, endorsed by the World Health Organization and used globally, is a tool for health professionals to assess a person’s risk of health problems related to excess body fat.

Currently, a healthy BMI ranges from 18.5 to 24.9, with 25 to 29.9 considered overweight. Scores below 18.5 indicate someone is underweight, while 30+ means obesity – both extremes can pose significant health risks.

However, Italian researchers are proposing a new system where adults over 40 would be classified as obese with a BMI of 27 or higher. This change could label most UK adults as obese, given that the average BMI for this age group is between 27.7 and 27.6, according to NHS data.

This proposed revision could lead to many people being classified as obese without their knowledge.

The authors of the study, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, argue that the current BMI threshold for obesity may not be appropriate for middle-aged and older adults, The Daily Mail reports.

The researchers explained that after the age of 40, bodies usually have an increased accumulation of fat around the waist. Along with age-related muscle decline, this results in no overall change in their overall weight.

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In the current BMI system, a healthy range is between 18.5 and 24.9(Image: Getty)

As a result, despite fat accumulation, the BMI system fails to identify the change, leading people to unknowingly face obesity-related health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and even stroke.

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