Weight-related News

Body Adipose Index, It’s All In The Hips

By now you probably know that I think BMI is a useless way of categorizing people’s weight.  It’s out-dated and misunderstood and has some serious issues especially for people who are tall, short, or athletic.

However, I understand the need for some sort of way of classifying people’s health risk based on body size.  This isn’t to say that body size is the only factor to healthfulness.  I contend that a slightly overweight person who gets a lot of physical motion in their life can easily be “healthier” than a normal weight person who is very sedentary.  Measuring a person’s body fat percentage would be most useful, but is not really convenient.  So people seem to be always looking for a formula that can be calculated at home without any special equipment.

Enter BAI, Body Adipose Index.  This is a newish formula proposed for estimating a person’s body fat percentage using only height and hip measurement.  Already, I am intrigued.  BMI has nothing to do with body fat percentage.  The numbers aren’t even related, but this causes a lot of confusion among people who think that the number you get when calculating BMI is supposed to be an estimate of your body fat percentage.  Accuracy issues aside, BMI is not even intended to correlate to body fat percentage.

Here are my own statistics and a comparison of BMI to BAI.  If you would like to try this on your own, this handy website can assist you.  Take care to convert your measurements to metric if you are used to feet and pounds.  (Google can help)

Height- 5’8″ or 1.73m

Weight- 165lb or 74.8kg

Hip measurement (measure at the widest point)- 39″ or 99cm

Based on my weight and height, my BMI is 25 kg/lb and I am in the “overweight” category by 1 pound.

Based on my hip measurement and height, my BAI is 25.5% body fat which is in the middle/low end of the “healthy” body fat percentage of 21 to 33% for females my age.  Based on the mirror, this seems pretty accurate to me.

Of course I’m going to prefer the measure that is more flattering, but in all seriousness, I am definitely not overweight.  I think one of these days I will have to do that body fat percentage test after all, just for the interest of this blog.

We all know by now that BMI May Not Be Telling The Whole Truth but could there be a better measure we could use to assess weight as a risk factor?  I’d be curious to know your results if you try this out yourself.

4 thoughts on “Body Adipose Index, It’s All In The Hips

  1. That is a great idea……my son will be entering college this year as an exercize science major and every college we considered had the “dunk tank”. Maybe go to the closest university and “volunteer” . According to the professors we met they look for volunteers. Just a thought. By the way, love your blog…..I followed you on MFS and was impressed but had no idea how articulate you were. Thanks for inspiring!

    Mary O.

  2. Yay!!! I feel better! I went to the website and entered my information….and my BMI is towards the end of the overweight scale and my BAI is toward the end of the healthy scale, but still healthy and getting better.

    Thank you very much for your insightful and informative blog.

  3. Wow… that’s fascinating. According to the BMI -I am at the high end of overweight. But according to the BAI I’m am 33.3% body fat – still overweight but only by .3%. Wow. So if I were to lose 2.5 more lbs and 2 more cm -I’ll be in the healthy body fat range. That is AMAZING.

  4. I’ve read about this measure before; unfortunately, I don’t think it works for apple types, especially overweight apple types. Many of us can be very overweight and have very large waist measurements yet small hips/butt. My tummy measurement is significantly larger than my waist measurement; when I gain weight, I gain most of it in the tummy, with very little change in hip measurement (ugh!). In this case, the body adiposity index can greatly underestimate the fat % and risk for those of us with apple shapes. Dang, the more I read, the more I think that us apple types are just really, really screwed. Ugh. 😦

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