Key points on body fat percentage by race</p>
This article demonstrated differences in body fat percentages, in different races.
Assuming a constant Body Fat percentage, different races have different Body Mass Index values to achieve the same body fat percentage. The chart shows the results:
So, suppose that White race has a BMI overweight criteria at 25 kg/m2, then this article suggests (indirectly) that these would be suitable overweight criteria for other races:
Update in 2014. Although I disagree strongly with using a BMI of 25 as a cutoff for defining overweight, You could in theory, take the difference from 25, for each race, and apply that difference to make a new race-specific threshold.
My disagreement with a BMI=25 threshold is mostly age-related. It’s the perfect threshold for a young adult or maybe 18 year old, but its a bad threshold for older adults.
For instance, suppose you wanted BMI of 27 in men, as your overweight threshold for white males. For black males, you’d add an extra 1.3, (because, look at the table above, 26.3 minus 25 = 1.3 ), which would give a cutoff of 28.3 BMI for black males.
Update in 2015. Now there is some dispute about the scientific validity of the body fat measurements made of Asians, a technicality that might have caused their measures of body fat to seem more fatty than reality, perhaps from shorter legs standing on an impedance measuring machine. It calls into question whether Asians have more fat at the same BMI. I think it’s safer and more truthy now, to assume that different races are even more similar, than this article published.
I’ve also added this link to a CDC page with a really crappy headline, ideal body mass index. That’s the sort of poor-quality science that keeps getting re-hashed over and over. They didn’t test different normal ranges, they only used the old standard range, and compared it a much bigger overweight+obese range… basically anything over 25. They deliberately let the truly massively obese data mix in, so it would include more people with all the usual obesity-related problems like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and so on.