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PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35281. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035281. Epub 2012 Apr 9.

Body adiposity index utilization in a Spanish Mediterranean population: comparison with the body mass index.

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Prevention of Occupational Risks in Health Services, Balearic Islands Health Service, Palma, Spain.



Body fat content and fat distribution or adiposity are indicators of health risk. Several techniques have been developed and used for assessing and/or determining body fat or adiposity. Recently, the Body Adiposity Index (BAI), which is based on the measurements of hip circumference and height, has been suggested as a new index of adiposity. The aim of the study was to compare BAI and BMI measurements in a Caucasian population from a European Mediterranean area and to assess the usefulness of the BAI in men and women separately.


A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in a Caucasian population. All participants in the study (1,726 women and 1,474 men, mean age 39.2 years, SD 10.8) were from Mallorca (Spain). Anthropometric data, including percentage of body fat mass obtained by Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, were determined. Body Mass Index (BMI) and BAI were calculated. BAI and BMI showed a good correlation (r = 0.64, p<0.001). A strong correlation was also found between BAI and the % fat determined using BIA (r = 0.74, p<0.001), which is even stronger than the one between BMI and % fat (r = 0.54, p<0.001). However, the ROC curve analysis showed a higher accuracy for BMI than for the BAI regarding the discriminatory capacity.


The BAI could be a good tool to measure adiposity due, at least in part, to the advantages over other more complex mechanical or electrical systems. Probably, the most important advantage of BAI over BMI is that weight is not needed. However, in general it seems that the BAI does not overcome the limitations of BMI.

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