Body fat more useful than BMI for assessing diabetes risk

It has a stronger association with pre-diabetes or undiagnosed diabetes, a US study suggests

Body fat percentage is more useful than BMI for assessing a patient’s risk of diabetes or pre-diabetes, US research suggests.

Diabetes test

The study of 6300 patients not diagnosed with diabetes found that, of those with a high percentage of body fat but normal BMI, 13.5% had HbA1c readings 5.7% (39mmol/mol) or above.

In contrast, only 10.5% of overweight patients with a low body fat percentage had readings as high.

The cut-offs for high body fat percentages were 25% for men and 35% for women, measured via whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.