Revising BMI Cut-Off Points for Obesity in a Weight Management Setting in Lebanon


Obesity is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 Kg/m2. This study aimed to test the validity of this BMI cut-off point for adiposity in a weight management clinical setting in Lebanon. This cross-sectional study of 442 adults of mixed gender, categorized by the WHO BMI classification, included: 66 individuals of normal weight, 110 who were overweight and 266 with obesity. The clinical sample was referred to the Outpatient Clinic in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Beirut Arab University (BAU) in Lebanon. All participants underwent anthropometric evaluation. The gold standard for defining obesity was based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/WHO guidelines for total body fat percentage (BF%). The best sensitivity and specificity were attained to predict obesity, according to the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis. The BMI cut-off point for predicting obesity in the clinical sample was nearly 31.5 Kg/m2, and more than 90% of individuals with obesity and cardiometabolic disease were above this cut-off point. In conclusion, this new BMI cut-off point, an obesity definition higher than suggested in Western populations, was demonstrated to have clinical usefulness. Obesity guidelines in Lebanon, therefore, need revising.


Marwan Ibrahim El Ghoch


Leila Itani , Dima Kreidieh , Hana Tannit

Journal/Conference Information

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,DOI:, ISSN: 1660-4601, Volume: 17, Issue: 11, Pages Range: 1-8,