Body Fat Index and Body Adiposity Index May Best Characterize Global Obesity

Body fat index and body adiposity index are viable alternatives for categorizing obesity.

Body fat index and body adiposity index may better categorize obesity compared with other indicators such as waist-hip ratio, according to research published in Diabetology and Metabolic Syndrome.

“Elderly subjects, due to the impact of aging, are at increased risk of developing ‘android’, abdominal obesity and associated metabolic syndrome,” the investigators explain. Since a variety of ratios have been used to measure obesity, the team asserts that “a multi-compartmental analysis of the human body at the tissue (and organ) level could be much more accurate and would help to better understand the complex interrelationships between human body composition and metabolism.”

Researchers conducted a prospective cohort using 806 individuals from the Prognostic Indicator of Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Events (PROOF) study who underwent dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. All study participants also underwent body mass index (BMI) and waist to hip ratio (WHR) assessments based on height and weight measurements. The researchers examined blood samples and determined cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglyceride levels. Individuals with prior myocardial infarction, stroke, and history of congestive heart disease were excluded from the study.

Among the obesity indices, BFI and BDI represented the best indicators to characterize global obesity.

Overall, increases of all anthropometric parameters were significantly linked with metabolic syndrome (P <.0001), the report shows. BMI, waist circumference and trunk fat were among the indices that were most significantly associated with metabolic syndrome. Logistic regression analysis revealed that WHR was significantly associated with all metabolic syndrome criteria (P <.0001), and both body fat index and body adipose index demonstrated a better correlation with metabolic syndrome compared with BMI.

This research is limited by the strict inclusion of individuals from 1 city in France.

“Among the obesity indices, [body fat index] and [body adipose index] represented the best indicators to characterize global obesity,” according to the study authors. “These different indicators are real alternatives for measuring obesity.”


Ntougou Assoumou HG, Pichot V, Barthelemy J-C, et al. Obesity related to metabolic syndrome: comparison of obesity indicators in an older french populationDiabetol Metab Syndr.Published online May 11, 2023. doi:10.1186/s13098-023-01078-x