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Medical News & Perspectives
March 7, 2018

Postmenopausal Women With a “Normal” BMI Might Be Overweight or Even Obese

JAMA. Published online March 7, 2018. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.0423

It’s been 20 years since the federal government, on the advice of an expert panel convened by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), lowered the body mass index (BMI) cutoff point for overweight, a move skeptics worried would spur Americans struggling to slim down to throw in the towel.

Soon after the guidelines were published, though, researchers began suggesting that the cutoff—the lowest BMI at which people are classified as overweight—still wasn’t low enough for at least 1 segment of the population: postmenopausal women. Misclassifying overweight postmenopausal women as normal weight means they could miss out on treatments that could reduce their risk of obesity-related health problems, particularly cardiovascular disease.

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