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Editorial
May 14, 2007

Obesity and MortalityWatch Your Waist, Not Just Your Weight

Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(9):875-876. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.9.875

More than 170 years ago, Quetelet, a mathematician in Belgium, developed an index of weight uncorrelated with height (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) to evaluate an individual's adiposity status.1 The index, widely known as body mass index (BMI), also called the Quetelet index, has remained the most widely used measure of obesity to this day. Despite its simplicity, this index has been found to be strongly correlated with adiposity assessed by gold standards such as body density measurements.2 Also, the validity of other weight-height indexes, such as the Benn index (weight/heightp), has not been found to be superior to that of BMI (in which p = 2).3

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