BMI, also known as Body Mass Index, has been around for a long time now, but very recently scientists in Chicago have come up with a possible replacement measure for it – they call it BAI. BAI stands for Body Adiposity Index, which relies on height and hip measurements rather than BMI’s height and weight ratio measures. BAI is at the cutting-edge of obesity scale indices, having only been announced a few days ago.
Why is BMI being replaced? BMI has become an accepted obesity scale in many countries around the world (having been around for 200 years), can be found on the news, and is discussed at routine checkups. However, there are a lot of flaws with the measurement because of different body structures, ethnicities, and muscle to fat ratios. The Body Adiposity Index has the potential to work with these considerations in minds, and produce a more accurate result than the BMI calculation.
BMI is calculated by dividing weight by the square of a person’s height (for more information check how to calculate BMI). BAI instead takes hip circumference, and divides it by the height to the power of 1.5, minus 18. The researchers claim this could produce a more accurate measure of body fat than the traditional BMI index.
The researchers give the example of a person who is 5 feet and 5 inches tall – they would be overweight at 68kg, and obese at 82kg.
One advantage is that people don’t need to be weighed to calculate the Body Adiposity Index. Some people simply don’t like being weighed by doctors or nurses as they find it embarrassing for other people to know their weight. All a doctor or nurse needs to do here is wrap a tape measure around the patient’s waist, measure their height and can calculate their BAI. This allows it to be extended to parts of the world where weighing scales aren’t available, perhaps in the developing world.
BAI isn’t going to be adopted just yet, the research is still brand new and needs to be testing on a wider range of people, especially in the white ethnic groups. However with obesity getting out of control in some western countries, it might well be the best replacement for BMI we’ve seen in a long time.