Researchers suggest replacing BMI with the Body Roundness Index. This new indicator takes into account body shape, not just the ratio of height to weight, to better assess the risks associated with overweight. It mainly focuses on the amount of visceral fat located around the hips. Could the Body Roundness Index gradually replace the Body Mass Index (BMI)? That’s what American and Chinese researchers suggest in a recent study aimed at better evaluating the effects of overweight and obesity on health. Their findings provide compelling evidence for the use of the BRI (Body Roundness Index) as a non-invasive and easy-to-obtain screening tool for estimating mortality risk and identifying individuals at high risk.

To reach this conclusion, scientists analyzed the medical records of nearly 33,000 American patients over a period of twenty years. The results showed a “U” shaped curve indicating that individuals with a Body Roundness Index below or above normal had an increased risk of death. The Body Roundness Index incorporates hip and waist circumferences to estimate total fat and visceral fat in the body. Visceral fat, located around the waist, is a reliable marker of increased risk of cardiovascular problems, metabolic disorders, and cancers, making it a better indicator of weight-related diseases.

Developed in 2013 by Professor Diana Thomas, the Body Roundness Index calculation is more complex than BMI calculation. It is as follows: 364.2 – 365.5 × √(1 – [waist circumference in centimeters / 2π] / [0.5 × height in meters]). Unlike BMI, the Body Roundness Index considers other components that define a person’s weight, such as muscles, bones, water, and organs. It also takes into account fat distribution in the body and where it is primarily located.

While BMI is a widely used indicator, it has limitations. One of its main drawbacks is that it does not consider other components of weight besides fat, such as muscles, bones, water, and organs. It also does not account for fat distribution in the body. In April, researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) pointed out that BMI, while practical, has limitations in differentiating between muscle mass and fat mass, especially in specific cases like children, elderly individuals, pregnant women, and high-level athletes.

For example, the case of judoka Teddy Riner in France highlights the limitations of BMI. Despite his height of 2.04m and competition weight of around 130 kg, his BMI of 31.2 categorizes him as obese class I. Until the calculation methods and research on the Body Roundness Index are refined, researchers recommend combining both methods to assess patients’ physical condition based on their weight.