Friday, March 11, 2011
Better Health Screening: Can BAI solve the problem with BMI?
Most experienced health professionals realize the limitations of a raw Body Mass Index score, yet for years it has served as a valuable screening tool for identifying obesity. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for health assessments and unfortunately, this now-notorious metric has been shown to overestimate the prevalence of obesity among blacks and underestimate the problem among Hispanic women, Asian women and adults of Indian descent.
To resolve some of these discrepancies, researchers at the University of Southern California recently devised the BAI - or Body Adiposity Index - to measure obesity and more accurately determine body mass across racial groups. While BMI represents a height to weight ratio, BAI is calculated based on an individual’s height and hip measurements.
At Wellness Corporate Solutions, we believe that the best understanding of a person’s overall health can only happen when you evaluate individual statistics in the context of a total biometric picture. Body composition is comprised of more than a raw score – regardless of whether that score is a BMI or a BAI. Total body fat percentage and waist circumference are other key factors in determining obesity and evaluating an individual’s risk of chronic disease.
As the obesity epidemic becomes an increasingly global issue, it is important for health experts to recognize racial disparities and find alternate solutions to identify and diagnose issues within a variety of communities. The use of BAI measurements seems to be one step in the right direction.