In obesity research, the body mass index (BMI) has been traditionally used to determine if an individual is normal weight, underweight, overweight or obese. However, BMI does not differentiate between the types of the mass (fat or muscle) or body shapes. Given that increased abdominal fat content specifically has been associated with increased risks of cardiovascular diseases and mortality rate, waist-to-hip (WHR) ratio is widely used by researchers to highlight abdominal fat content associated with obesity. However, WHR underestimates obesity for '"pear shaped'" body types and overestimates it for '"apple shaped'" body types. Thus, both BMI and WHR do not specifically measure central obesity or are not precise for certain body types.
A research team lead by Zhiyong Han, Ph.D. at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, Nutley, New Jersey has published a new report in the Open Journal of Nutrition on July 2018 that describes an elegant, simple way of measuring abdominal obesity index (ABOI) to determine central obesity of individuals.
On the importance of the findings, Dr. Han says, id: "The advantage of ABOI is in its simplicity and its focus on abdominal fat regardless of the total body weight, body shape and body height. ABOI can be easily calculated by measuring abdominal circumference and chest circumference. In using this approach, we were able to use ABOI to focus on abdominal obesity."
In the report, the authors also show that combinatorial use of ABOI and waist to height ratio (WHtR) appears to provide another approach to index patients into clinical subgroups. "The clinical usefulness of ABOI remains to be tested. We plan on conducting studies to use ABOI and WHtR to assess an individual's risks for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and dyslipidemia" said Dr. Han.