U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Preventive Medicine Reports 2 (2015) 483–487


Objective. The purpose of this analysis was to determine the accuracy of age and gender adjusted BMI as a measure of body fat (BF) in U.S. Army Soldiers.

Methods. BMI was calculated through measured height and weight (kg/m2) and body compositionwas determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Linear regression was used to determine a BF prediction equation and examine the correlation between %BF and BMI. The sensitivity and specificity of BMI compared to %BF as measured by DEXA was calculated.

Results. Soldiers (n=110) were on average 23 years old, with a BMI of 26.4, and approximately 18% BF. The correlation between BMI and %BF (R= 0.86) was strong (p <0.01). A sensitivity of 77% and specificity of 100% were calculated when using Army age adjusted BMI thresholds. The overall accuracy in determining if a Soldier met Army BMI standards andwere within the maximumallowable BF or exceeded BMI standards and were over the maximum allowable BF was 83%.

Conclusion. Using adjusted BMI thresholds in populations where physical fitness and training are requirements of the job provides better accuracy in identifying those who are overweight or obese due to high BF.