It is controversial, yet the most widely used measure of obesity, across the world.
Body mass index, more often referred to as BMI, determines whether a person is underweight, normal, overweight or obese.
The measurement is calculated by dividing a person’s weight – in kilograms – by their height – in meters.
But, the debate among experts rages as to whether BMI is an accurate reflection of obesity.
One school of thought suggests that it is flawed, failing to take into account serious problems such body shape and the distribution of fat.
Now a team of scientists, have developed a new measurement – focusing on surface area.
They then put the measurement to the test.
Using the data from NHANES, they found that SBSI was a better predictor of all-cause mortality than BMI.
The study said: ‘Applying SBSI initially gives reasonable performance when compared with existing body shape measures.’
The team also found that SBSI generally increases with age – although its increments vary by gender.
They also found that increasing SBSIs cause a higher mortality hazard.
The study said: ‘SBSI is generally linear with age, and increases with increasing mortality, when compared with other popular anthropometric indices of body shape.’
The study was published in the journal PLOS One.