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Body volume index

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The Body Volume Index is a proposed alternative to the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is used as an indicator for weight problems such as being overweight or underweight. The BMI puts a persons total weight in relation to their height. This measure does not take into account where on the body the mass is located. Recent studies have shown the limitations of BMI as an indicator of individual health risk.[1][2]

BVI take body shape into account

Eight women with the same BMI rating (BMI - 30) but with different weight distribution and shape. They therefore have different BVI values.

The BVI was made in 2000 as an alternative to the BMI. With the data, a computer should be able to check whether a person is obese. The BVI measures the BMI, the circumference of the waist, and the waist-hip-ratio.

The BVI is used on a 3D full body scanner to determine the health risk of the person scanned. Using the scanner, the BVI can differentiate between people with the same BMI, but with a different shape or weight distribution. The BVI is currently being tested in different hospitals in the US and Europe; a two-year project was started to see whether it would be as useful as the BMI.[3][4]

The BMI can be measured manually, using the height and weight of a person. The BVI is calculated automatically based on data from the 3D scanner. The total weight or total fat content are not used. Scienmtific studies showed that fat content of the abdomen, and "mass" around it pose a greater health risk.[5] This fact is commonly known as central obesity. A full body surface scanner determines the three-dimensional outline of a person's exterior surface, so that computation can be used to calculate the part volumes and the part body composition of that person. BVI makes an inference as to the body's distribution of fat and weight using complex and detailed Body Composition data.[6]

Most body scanners take a number of images from different angles. Different lighting as well as patterns projected onto the body are used to determine the body shape and the distribution of the weight in the body of the patient.


  1. A. Romero-Corral, V. K. Somers, J. Sierra-Johnson, R. J. Thomas, M. L. Collazo-Clavell, J. Korinek, T. G. Allison, J. A. Batsis, F. H. Sert-Kuniyoshi & F. Lopez-Jimenez (June 2008). "Accuracy of body mass index in diagnosing obesity in the adult general population". International Journal of Obesity 32 (6): 959–956. doi:10.1038/ijo.2008.11. PMID 18283284.
  2. "Association of bodyweight with total mortality and with cardiovascular events in coronary artery disease: a systematic review of cohort studies.". Lancet (2006-08-19;368(9536):666-78). Retrieved on 2008-09-08
  3. "Test project homepage".
  4. Barnes, R. Rahim, A (Autumn 2009)"The Body Volume Index: New Imaging Technology for Body measurement." Hospital Imaging & Radiology Europe Autumn 2009 Vol 4. Retrieved on 2010-29-02
  5. Craver, R.(10 September 2008) "Location, not volume, of fat found to be key" Retrieved on 2008-10-09
  6. Tahrani, Abd; Kristien Boelaert, Richard Barnes, Suzanne Palin, Annmarie Field, Helen Redmayne, Lisa Aytok, Asad Rahim1 (10 April 2008). "Body volume index: time to replace body mass index?". Endocrine Abstracts (Society for Endocrinology, British Endocrine Societies) 15: 104. Retrieved 2008-09-07.