The Body Adiposity Index (Hip Circumference ÷ Height1.5) Is Not a More Accurate Measure of Adiposity Than Is BMI, Waist Circumference, or Hip Circumference




Based on cross-sectional analyses, it was suggested that hip circumference divided by height1.5 −18 (the body adiposity index (BAI)), could directly estimate percent body fat without the need for further correction for sex or age. We compared the prediction of percent body fat, as assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (PBFDXA), by BAI, BMI, and circumference (waist and hip) measurements among 1,151 adults who had a total body scan by DXA and circumference measurements from 1993 through 2005. After accounting for sex, we found that PBFDXA was related similarly to BAI, BMI, waist circumference, and hip circumference. In general, BAI underestimated PBFDXA among men (2.5%) and overestimated PBFDXA among women (4%), but the magnitudes of these biases varied with the level of body fatness. The addition of covariates and quadratic terms for the body size measures in regression models substantially improved the prediction of PBFDXA, but none of the models based on BAI could more accurately predict PBFDXA than could those based on BMI or circumferences. We conclude that the use of BAI as an indicator of adiposity is likely to produce biased estimates of percent body fat, with the errors varying by sex and level of body fatness. Although regression models that account for the nonlinear association, as well as the influence of sex, age, and race, can yield more accurate estimates of PBFDXA, estimates based on BAI are not more accurate than those based on BMI, waist circumference, or hip circumference.