Body composition interpretation. Contributions of the fat-free mass index and the body fat mass index

Nutrition. Jul-Aug 2003;19(7-8):597-604. doi: 10.1016/s0899-9007(03)00061-3.


Objective: Low and high body mass index (BMI) values have been shown to increase health risks and mortality and result in variations in fat-free mass (FFM) and body fat mass (BF). Currently, there are no published ranges for a fat-free mass index (FFMI; kg/m(2)), a body fat mass index (BFMI; kg/m(2)), and percentage of body fat (%BF). The purpose of this population study was to determine predicted FFMI and BFMI values in subjects with low, normal, overweight, and obese BMI.

Methods: FFM and BF were determined in 2986 healthy white men and 2649 white women, age 15 to 98 y, by a previously validated 50-kHz bioelectrical impedance analysis equation. FFMI, BFMI, and %BF were calculated.

Results: FFMI values were 16.7 to 19.8 kg/m(2) for men and 14.6 to 16.8 kg/m(2) for women within the normal BMI ranges. BFMI values were 1.8 to 5.2 kg/m(2) for men and 3.9 to 8.2 kg/m(2) for women within the normal BMI ranges. BFMI values were 8.3 and 11.8 kg/m(2) in men and women, respectively, for obese BMI (>30 kg/m(2)). Normal ranges for %BF were 13.4 to 21.7 and 24.6 to 33.2 for men and women, respectively.

Conclusion: BMI alone cannot provide information about the respective contribution of FFM or fat mass to body weight. This study presents FFMI and BFMI values that correspond to low, normal, overweight, and obese BMIs. FFMI and BFMI provide information about body compartments, regardless of height.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Electric Impedance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors