BMI or 'Body Mass Index" has long been considered a "fairly reliable
indicator of body fatness for most people," but critics called it badly
flawed. Researchers at The City College of New York have since come up with a new
obesity measurement tool called A Body Shape Index (ABSI) which is a combination between BMI and waist circumference. The researchers say
it could provide a better alternative to measuring obesity.
Nir Krakauer, a co-author on the study, says: "High ABSI may identify
people who have unhealthy body shapes despite having weight and waist
circumference within the normal range, and such people may benefit from
diet and lifestyle changes." From ABC News:
The researchers measured ABSI in more than 14,100 American adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2004. They found that a high ABSI, indicative of a large amount of belly fat, significantly increased the risk of premature death. A high BMI also predicted the risk of an early death, but to a lesser degree than ABSI.
However, it is unclear if ABSI takes natural, inherited body shapes into account. That would mean that two people of the same gender, height and weight could have vastly different ABSIs if one is pear-shaped and the other is apple-shaped.