Body Adiposity Index: The Better Obesity Scale?


To measure your body fat, you could hop on the bathroom scale, try to squeeze into your skinny jeans or use a body mass index (BMI) calculation.

But a new alternative called the body adiposity index (BAI) might be the most accurate method of all.

Richard Bergman, of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and his associates created the index, which uses hip circumference and height, to determine adiposity (a fancy word for ‘fat’).

The index could surpass other body fat measurements, such as BMI, as the most accurate way to gauge health.

The scientist’s report, published in the journal Obesity, says although doctors have used BMI since the 19th century, it’s too general a measurement.

For instance, the BMI calculation, weight in kilograms divided by height in meters, doesn’t distinguish between muscle and body fat.

That means a bodybuilder might have the same BMI as an obese person. Worse yet, Bergman’s report says BMI doesn’t work the same way for different genders or ethnic groups.

That’s why Bergman and co. built their index by analyzing data from a Mexican-American population study. They also cross-referenced their findings with an African-American population study.

The BAI still has a few kinks to work out before it becomes the go-to body fat calculation (scientists need to investigate how the BAI applies to other ethnic groups, including Caucasians, for example), so don’t go asking your doctor about it just yet.

Instead, do what we’re doing, and gauge your health with a simple, daily act you can do at home — the good, old fashioned, how-do-my-jeans fit test.

Here’s some more information on measuring body fat.

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