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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Jan;21(1):E64-70. doi: 10.1002/oby.20054.

Skinfolds and coronary heart disease risk factors are more strongly associated with BMI than with the body adiposity index.

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Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



A recent, cross-sectional analysis of adults found that the hip circumference divided by height(1.5) minus 18 (the body adiposity index, BAI) was strongly correlated (r = 0.79) with percent body fat determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The BAI was proposed as a more accurate index of body fatness than BMI. We examined whether BAI was more strongly related, than was BMI and waist circumference, to skinfold thicknesses and levels of various risk factors for coronary heart disease.


Cross-sectional analyses of adults (n = 14,263 for skinfold thickness; n=6291 for fasting lipid levels) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III, 1988-1994.


As compared with BMI and waist circumference, we found that BAI was less strongly associated with the skinfold sum and with risk factor levels. For example, correlations with the skinfold sum were r = 0.79 (BMI) vs. r = 0.70 (BAI) among men, and r = 0.86 (BMI) vs. r = 0.79 (BAI) among women; p < 0.001 for the difference between each pair of correlations. An overall index of the 7 risk factors was also more strongly associated with BMI and waist circumference than BAI in analyses stratified by sex, race-ethnicity and age. Multivariable analyses indicated that if BMI was known, BAI provided little additional information on risk factor levels.


Based on the observed associations with risk factor levels and skinfold thicknesses, we conclude that BAI is unlikely to be a better index of adiposity than BMI.

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