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Body mass index may be misleading measure of diabetes risk

Category: Diabetes

Body mass index, commonly referred to as BMI, is one of the most prevalent tests to indicate diabetes and heart disease risk. However, the findings of a recent study indicate that it may not be as accurate of a measure as many medical professionals believe, suggesting that insulin testing and other direct screening measure may be the best way to assess diabetes risk.

A team of researchers from St. George's University in London compared the BMI of children from several different ethnic backgrounds to more direct measurements of body fat percentage. They found that BMI failed to accurately predict body fat levels for some ethnic groups.

Researchers said that by providing public health officials with more accurate measurements of diabetes risk, the findings could help them direct public awareness campaigns at demographic groups who could benefit the most from them.

"These findings will give policy makers a better understanding of the health problems facing ethnic minority groups," said Claire Nightingale, who headed up the investigation. "They also suggest that BMI can be misleading when comparing body fat patterns in children from different ethnic groups."

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