Percent body fat and body mass index of Chinese from Hong Kong

Hong Kong Body Mass Index and percent body fat

Comments about the Chinese body mass index and percent body fat correlation, and cut offs.

It’s nice to read a consice article like this, that presents its data with completeness, and makes decent interpretation and conclusions.

The article says that "In Asians, the new proposed cut-offs for overweight and for obesity are >=23.0 and >=25.0 kg/m2."

Here’s some of their data. I’m particularly interested to point out the relatively high body fat percentages in Hong Kong women, with relatively low BMI values.

  20-30yrs 31-40 41-50 51-60 >60 all
median BMI 21.5 23.7 23.8 21.7 23.7 23.0
% body fat 18.0% 23.9% 23.5% 22.1% 26.9% 23.0%
median BMI 20.3 21.3 23.2 23.2 23.2 22.4
% body fat 29.7% 32.6% 36.6% 38.5% 39.3% 35.2%

- "In men, a 25% body fat percentage correspondes to a mean BMI of 24.6. In women, a 35% body fat percentage corresponds to a mean BMI of 22.6."

Ah ha. It appears they are already using 25% (men) and 35% (women) body fat percentage as a definition of obesity. That’s higher (in women) than the often seen 30% criteria, and higher than the 33% that is also reasonably common. Where did they get their 35% criteria? From Deurenberg1.


Talking Moose Talking Moose
Aren’t you going to say something extra?

Hector Hector
Who, me?

Dr. Halls Dr. Halls
Hi Hector. Lets just say that women everywhere are rejoicing that 35 percent body fat is the top of the normal range.

Hector Hector
I’m happy too. Being too skinny also means wrinkly. I like healthy girls.

Talking Moose Talking Moose
Chinese girls?

Hector Hector
I like two kinds of girls. Domestic and Foreign.



  1. Deurenberg P, Yap M, van Staveren WA. Body mass index and percent body fat: a meta analysis among different ethnic groups. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1998; 22:1164-1171.

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