Weight-height relationships among eight populations of West African origin: the case against constant BMI standards

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 Sep;22(9):842-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0800670.


Objective: To ascertain whether constant body mass index (BMI) standards are appropriate in genetically similar populations.

Design: Data are taken from the International Collaborative Study of Hypertension in Blacks (ICSHIB), an observational study.

Subjects: Individuals of African descent who were included in ICSHIB. Subjects lived in eight different sites: Barbados; Cameroon (urban and rural); Jamaica; Manchester, UK; Maywood, IL; urban Nigeria; and St Lucia.

Measurements: Weight and height.

Results: Constant BMI standards effectively argue for the constancy of slope of the linear regression equations of In(weight) on In(height) across populations. Linear regression results indicate that the height/weight relationship implied by the use of constant BMI standards, is not found in these populations and that there is much variation across groups.

Conclusion: The use of constant BMI standards in classifying individuals prognostically may be unwise, even in genetically similar populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Western / ethnology
  • Barbados
  • Body Height* / genetics
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight* / genetics
  • Cameroon
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jamaica
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Nigeria
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Saint Lucia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States