College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Adiposity and BMI

Body mass index (BMI) is the ratio of weight for height, often used as an indicator of weight status or adiposity. This measurement is highly correlated to percentage of body fat, assessed using other methods. 

Using CDC standards for weight status, 1.33% of Kansans are considered underweight, 25% have normal weight (18.5-24.9 BMI), 32.7 % are overweight (25.0-29.9  BMI), and 40.79% are considered obese (30.0 or greater). These characterizations are based on a study of 4,572 adults, 20 years of age and older (Kempf, 2003).  Kansas men showed a higher rate of overweight than women at 37.64% compared to 28.28.  In contrast, 50.5% of Mennonite men are considered overweight, while 29.2% of Mennonite women have BMIs of 25.0-29.9. According to the Kempf study, 44.67% of the Kansas women are considered obese, while 38.65% of the men in this study were classified as obese. By contrast, fewer Mennonites, either are classified as obese (22.7% men and 17.9% women).   

73 percent of the males are above the cutoff for overweight, with 22% considered obese.  For females, 51% are within normal range under 24.9.  Almost 1/3 of the males have a waist circumference above the cutoff of 101cm used to partition those with metabolic syndrome, with the females having less than 25% with waist > than the 87cm cutoff.