How is that possible? Maybe it’s not.

Asian body Fat percentage and BMI

Tis interesting that Asians have lower body mass index (BMI) but higher percent body fat than do whites.

This article has equations to predict body fat percentage, based on body mass index, race and gender. When graphed, they look like this, showing little difference in women, but a bigger difference in men. Asian men have higher body fat % at similar BMI.

Asian vs white fat differences

There is a table in the article, showing the body fat percentages that are expected at a "Normal" BMI of 25 kg/m2.

  Body Fat %
Whites 19.2
Asians 23.6
Difference 4.4
Whites 34.2


Difference 2.6


Tyler Tyler
What is this? My eyes glaze over at this page.

Megan Megan
Suppose a woman is normal with a BMI of 25, and you ask, what is her body fat percentage?

Hector Hector
I think the answer is 34% or 36% for Asians. Wow.


Or, to state it differently, I took their formulas and calculated the BMI necessary to achieve a body fat percentage of 25% in men and 33% in women.

Whites 29.59
Asians 26.04
Difference 3.55
Whites 24.36
Asians 22.67



But there’s something fishy about that result. Their "White" men seem to have a higher than expected BMI (29.59 kg/m2 ) when body fat percentage is 25%. If that figure is too high, then the difference between white and Asian men is also probably too high. Their sample came from New York, with an average age of 51 years. That’s a little older than most other studies.

This article mentions that Asians have shorter leg lengths, and also greater amounts of subcutaneous fat in the upper body.

One last comment. I think their abstract has a mistake. It says that the racial differences were greater in women, but in the actual article, their equations and data tables show a greater difference in Men than women.

Dr. Halls Dr. Halls
I found this link from Harvard on obesity and measuring fatness which is adding some info.

Talking Moose
Talking Moose
How kind of you to link to other folks.


Did you click on any faces or find other surprises?


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