Human obesity is a growing epidemic throughout the world. Body mass index (BMI) is commonly used as a good indicator of obesity. Body adiposity index (BAI = hip circumference (cm)/stature (m)1.5 − 18), as a new surrogate measure, has been proposed recently as an alternative to BMI. This study, for the first time, compares BMI and BAI for predicting percent body fat (PBF; estimated from skinfolds) in a sample of 302 Buryat adults (148 men and 154 women) living in China. The BMI and BAI were strongly correlated with PBF in both men and women. The correlation coefficient between BMI and PBF was higher than that between BAI and PBF for both sexes. For the linear regression analysis, BMI better predicted PBF in both men and women; the variation around the regression lines for each sex was greater for BAI comparisons. For the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, the area under the ROC curve for BMI was higher than that for BAI for each sex, which suggests that the discriminatory capacity of the BMI is higher than the one of BAI. Taken together, we conclude that BMI is a more reliable indicator of PBF derived from skinfold thickness in adult Buryats. Am J Phys Anthropol 152:294–299, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.