New research is challenging the accuracy of obesity parameters for minorities. One of the most common tools doctors use for gauging obesity is BMI — a mathematical formula based on height and weight, but not ethnicity. And that has some researchers questioning both whether the cutoffs should be higher or lower. They found that at any given BMI, African-American women actually have about 2 percent less body fat than Caucasian women of the same height and weight. Black women tend to have denser, heavier bones and muscles — increasing their weight and BMI — compared with White women. This year another study by UTMB used a different definition for obesity — having 35 percent or more body fat — to determine that BMI charts placed the bar too high for everyone. “BMI is still a useful measurement for doctors to screen patients for obesity,” says the study’s lead researcher Dr. Mahbubur Rahman, an ob-gyn at the UTMB’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health. “It’s a cheap and easy way to do it. But the value should be race specific. Our research recommends that the BMI cutoff value for reproductive age Black women is 28 7, which is very close to the current cutoff value of 30.” (Link unavailable.)