Almost everyone has heard of the Body Mass Index, or BMI for short. Based on this value, men and women are classified as underweight, normal, overweight or obese. As the BMI value is calculated solely on the basis of body size and weight and thus does not take into account numerous other factors such as the proportion of muscle mass. It is increasingly subject to criticism.
The Body Shape Index, or BSI and BSIz for short, which is also known as ABSI (“A Body Shape Index”) or ABSIz, is much more meaningful. Here you can find out everything you need to know about the Body Shape Index. You can also calculate and evaluate your personal BSI value directly with our online BSI calculator.
The Body Shape Index Calculator
What is the Body Shape Index?
The abbreviation BSI stands for Body Shape Index. The BSI is often also referred to as ABSI (“A Body Shape Index”).
The big difference to the Body Mass Index (BMI) is that the BSI takes the waist circumference into account when calculating it. This means that the Body Shape Index is a more meaningful supplement to the BMI, which can be used to make more precise statements about your physical condition. This is because harmful abdominal fat in particular poses considerable health risks, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and arteriosclerosis.
The higher the Body Shape Index, the greater the proportion of dangerous abdominal fat compared to other parts of the body such as muscles or the subcutaneous fat tissue on arms, legs or the upper body.
As the BSI value is dependent on age and gender, the additional BSIz value is also calculated. This is particularly important as the BSIz compares your own value with the average values of the population and thus determines whether you have an above- or below-average risk. The BSIz (or ABSIz) risk index is calculated using average BSI values that have been empirically determined for both males and females of different ages.
Calculating your Body Shape Index and the corresponding BSIz value is an absolutely sensible step to help you determine whether or not you are within the green zone with your weight and body shape. But of course, the most important thing is still to make sure that you are living a healthy lifestyle.
What does your BMI result mean?
If the Body Shape Index calculator gives an (A)BSIz value of 0.0, this means that your BSI value is exactly the average of all people who are the same age as you and of the same sex. If your BSIz score is higher, it means that you have an above average BSI score compared to the average of all people of your age and gender. If your BSIz score is below 0.0, your BSI score is below average.
So, the higher your BSIz score is, the higher your relative risk of illnesses compared to people of your age and gender.
The “A Body Shape Index”, developed by the New York researchers Nir and Jesse Krakauer, makes it easier to understand how this value affects the statistical risk of death.
For example, if you are female, 35 years old, 1.70 metres tall, weigh 60 kilos and have a waist circumference of 75 cm, your ABSIz value is -0.3706. This means that you have up to 20% less risk of developing a serious disease than most people of the same age and sex with a higher ABSIz value would have.
As a simple rule of thumb, you can remember that with an ABSIz value below zero you are doing great and don’t need to worry.
But beware: What ABSI does not take into account are factors such as unhealthy nutrition, stress, smoking or genetic diseases. All these can also have a negative effect on your health.
How to measure the waist circumference correctly?
To ensure that the results are comparable, it is important that you put the tape measure in the right place to get correct values for your abdominal girth.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the waist is exactly midway between the end of the lower rib and the upper edge of the pelvic blade. You now place the tape measure exactly in the middle between these two points and wrap it around your waist parallel to the ground. Make sure that you do not retract or inflate your stomach while measuring your waist. The tape should not be too loose, but it should also not pinch your waist. This works best if you take a deep breath in and out and then hold your breath briefly to take the measurement.
What is the difference to the BMI?
As mentioned at the beginning, the main difference is that the Body Shape Index takes more factors into account than the Body Mass Index. This is because the distribution of fat deposits on the body has a decisive influence on the health risks. Abdominal fat is considered to be particularly critical here.
While the BMI is measured solely from body weight and height, the (A)BSI puts the waist circumference in relation to height and BMI, which makes the result much more meaningful than value of the BMI alone.
A further value which is suitable for a better determination of the body fat distribution is the so-called Waist-to-Height-Ratio (WHTR). You can use this value in addition to your Body Shape Index to get an even more accurate picture of your physical condition.
Other calculators & tools
Fitness trackers can help you determine, track and analyse your personal values. Here are some of the best and most common fitness trackers:
To get even more exact values about your body, you can also use our other calculators:
- Body Mass Index Calculator
- Calorie Calculator
- Waist-to-Height-Ratio Calculator
- Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator
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