Korean J Fam Pract.  2021 Feb;11(1):81-85. 10.21215/kjfp.2021.11.1.81.

Analysis of Body Fat Mass Index for Korean Adults

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Sahmyook Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, Korea


Body mass index (BMI), a standard guideline used by the World Health Organization to diagnose obesity, has limited ability to differentiate between lean body mass and fat body mass. Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is commonly used to value body adiposity to calculate percent body fat, fat free mass, and fat mass index (FMI). Numerous studies have published a population-based cut-off value of FMI corresponding to BMI to better assess obesity. This study aimed to suggest an FMI cut-off value that is indicative of obesity and understand any limitations to its clinical application.
From Jan 2017 to Dec 2018, this multicenter cross-sectional study was conducted among 618,757 community-dwelling healthy Koreans aged 20 years or older. Body composition parameters were measured using BIA. FMI was calculated for each age group and obesity classification group.
The mean reference values of the reference groups were as follows: FMI 6.1 for men and 8 for women for those with BMI >25 and FMI 3.2 for men and 4.5 for women for those with BMI <18.5. When subjects were divided by 10-year age groups, the FMI cut-off value for the diagnosis of obesity varied and the value increased with aging.
FMI reference values varied among age groups. FMI values for women were distributed in a wide range and had larger differences in the same obesity group. It is essential to apply age-specific FMI reference values to patients to achieve optimum body composition analysis.


Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis; Body Mass Index; Fat Mass Index; Obesity
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