We already know that Body Mass Index (BMI) is not a good measure for African-Americans, especially women, and elite athletes. It is far more important to know your numbers as an indication of your health status. The healthcare world may have caught up to the reality that there are diverse groups living in the Unites States.
The challenge with using BMI is that it compares weight and height with no accounting for how much of that weight is muscle and bone. There is some evidence that Black people’s bone and muscle tissue are more dense than White people’s potentially adding to their weight. In an attempt to account for this difference physicians starting looking at the circumference of the waist. A larger waist is thought to be a strong indicator for cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. However that measurement didn’t take height into account. A 33-inch waist on a 5’10” woman is different than it is on a 5’5″ woman.
That leads us to ABSI, A Body Shape Index, created by the father-son team of Drs. Jesse Krakauer MD and Nir Krakauer, PhD who are doctors of endocrinology and civil engineering respectively. Their model takes all three factors into account – height, weight and waist circumference. The three-dimensional measurement, if you will, appears to be more accurate based on an initial study of more than 14,000 Americans of all shapes and sizes. This included pregnant women. The preliminary results revealed that those with the highest ABSI numbers had more than twice the risk of dying from any cause than those with the lowest. Because the score takes height into account it provides a better assessment of “body roundness”.
Want to find out your score, visit the calculator here. A score of 1 means you’re at average risk of death for your age. Below or above 1 means you are below or above average risk respectively. What do you think? Can your health and risk of dying from disease really be calculated? Comment and share your thoughts.
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