Study Proposes New Obesity Definition

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • A new study suggests that though belly fat or extra weight distributed around the mid-section of your body is worrisome and can contribute to a variety of health conditions, any excess weight is not healthy.  So pear-shaped men and women, who carry weight in their hips and thighs and of course, people who have deposits of fat around their organs internally, need to lose that excess weight in order to avoid diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and osteo-arthritis.


    There are a variety of ways that we use to assess weight, girth, body fat and other size parameters, and each has its drawbacks:

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    • A tape measure that measures your waist size only and does not take into account actual weight or body fat.
    • A traditional scale, which just gives an absolute number and does not account for muscle mass
    • Body fat calipers that actually measure your accessible fat
    • A bio-impedence device that measures how much of your weight is fat, water and muscle mass.
    • A BMI chart that offers a ratio of height to weight, that assesses your "risk for diseases" based on the range your BMI falls in

     Well now comes a new way for scientists to measure whether a person is too "fat" without the person actually getting on a scale.  It's called the BAI or Body Adiposity Index, and it relies on height and hip measurements, however, it is a more flexible assessment than the BMI.  One of the biggest problems with BMI is that a very lean athlete can have a higher than acceptable BMI because his weight reflects heavier body mass, since muscle weighs more than fat, pound for pound.  BAI seems to be a more accurate assessment of actual body fat, but scientists are looking at whether that information will be able to accurately assess health risk and predict health outcome (as does the current BMI).


    With obesity accounting for close to $147 billion a year in US medical spending, experts are constantly at work trying to find ways to assess excess weight in a meaningful way, that translates to health risks, treatment options and medical cost savings.

Published On: April 01, 2011