Scientists propose new scale for judging obesity

Apr 26, 2011

Scientists suggest the body adiposity index may be more accurate than the body mass index measurement.

Scientists have developed a new scale for judging obesity that may be better than the frequently used Body Mass Index, which is a height-to-weight ratio, according to a study in the journal Obesity.

Researchers from the University of Southern California have developed the Body Adiposity Index, which is a complex ratio calculated using hip circumference and height, the source said.

The new measurement scale was created with data from the Mexican-American population study and was tested using dual-energy X-ray absorption scanning, which revealed the calculation is very accurate in determining body fat content.

The more complex ratio may be more accurate because it can better account for actual body fat content than a simple height and weight ratio, which doesn't account for gender, ethnicity or body type, such as lean athletes.

Though tests still need to be done, the more accurate measurement in body fat could potentially lead to an ability to predict health outcomes. If the technology is proven able to estimate the odds of developing obesity-related illnesses, it will likely pique the interest of life insurers, who sometimes weigh obesity as an important factor in determining the risk-level of applicants.  

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