Table of Contents
Journal of Anthropology
Volume 2012, Article ID 595614, 5 pages
Research Article

Anthropometric Method for Determining “Masked Obesity” in the Young Japanese Female Population

1Laboratory of Environmental and Applied Physiology, Faculty of Environmental and Symbiotic Sciences, Prefectural University of Kumamoto, Kumamoto 862-8502, Japan
2Faculty of Health and Sports Science, Doshisha University, 1-3 Kyotanabe, Kyoto 610-0394, Japan
3Research Center of Physical Culture, Fukuoka University of Education, Fukuoka 811-4192, Japan

Received 10 November 2011; Revised 10 January 2012; Accepted 7 March 2012

Academic Editor: Maryna Steyn

Copyright © 2012 Yoshiyuki Fukuoka et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A specific kind of obesity that occurs in young women who appear thin but who have relatively greater percentage of body fat than is normal for their weight is called “masked obesity.” The definition of masked obesity is nutritionally and anthropometrically clear: body mass index (BMI) <25 kg/m2 and percentage of body fat (%BF) 30%. However, this definition allowed obesity to be underestimated. Thus, we determined that when mathematically analyzing the relationship between BMI and %BF, the equation %BF=aBMIb could be applied, where a (i.e., %BF/BMIb), converted by logarithmic function, is defined as an index for masked obesity (MOI). The MOI equation (a) was thus %BF/BMI2.12. We measured the height, weight, and %BF of 8,068 young women from all over Japan. The percentage of subjects with masked obesity above the defined criteria (BMI <25 kg/m2 and %BF 30%) was 7.4%. The mean MOI was 0.0444 in the masked obesity group and we determined additional cases of masked obesity if the MOI was greater than 0.0444. The percentage of additional masked obesity cases within the standard scale was 10.4%, and thus, the percentage of masked obesity was 17.8% in the young Japanese women tested.