ABSI is the latest measure of health to be released. Otherwise known as A Body Shape Index, ABSI gives a more complete look at your risk of health complications due to weight. Before ABSI we had WC (waist circumference) which didn’t account for height, and before that there was BMI (body mass index) which didn’t account for bone density or lean muscle mass.
As the newest measure of health on the scene, ABSI appears to be the most accurate one yet. According to an article published in the PLOS ONE journal ABSI is more accurate at predicting premature death than both WC and BMI.
The calculation was created by father and son team Jesse C. Krakauer and Nir Y. Krakauer. They looked at data for over 14,000 Americans collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2004. ABSI was developed using WC adjusted for height and weight, and verified by following up with mortality rates for study participants at the 5 year mark.
The ABSI score is based on the average population. So, if you input your numbers and receive a score less than one, then you have a lower than average risk of premature death whereas a score above one indicates that your risk is higher than average. So, for example a score of 1 indicates an average risk while 1.2 indicates a 20% higher risk of premature mortality than the average.
Let’s take a look at all three measurements and how they determine health.
According to WebMD:
A high-risk waist circumference is:
- A man with waist measurement over 40 inches (102 cm).
- A woman with waist measurement over 35 inches (88 cm).
Body Mass Index
When I look at all three measurements, here are the results. According to WC and BMI, I am high risk (36 inches) and on the verge of obesity (29.9). But according to ABSI I have a below average risk for premature death (-0.8). I’m thinking I like this new measurement.
I do see one potential flaw with this new measure though… Since it measures you against the average, you really need to keep in mind that the average American is not very healthy, and that we have a severe obesity problem and low life expectancy right now. So, being below average is good, but it might not be all that great.
How do you measure up?
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