Your tummy’s girth could indicate health risks, courtesy a new method developed by scientists to quantify the risk specifically associated with abdominal obesity. In 2012, Nir Krakauer, an assistant professor of civil engineering in City College of New York’s Grove School of Engineering, and his father, Jesse Krakauer, MD, developed a new method to quantify the risk specifically associated with abdominal obesity.
A follow-up study, published Feb 20 by the online journal PLOS ONE, supports their contention that the technique, known as A Body Shape Index (ABSI) is a more effective predictor of mortality than body mass index, the most common measure used to define obesity. The results tracked closely with the earlier study, which used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted in the US between 1999 and 2004.This provides stronger evidence that ABSI is a valid indicator of the risk of premature death across different populations. Further, they showed that ABSI outperformed commonly used measures of abdominal obesity, including waist circumference, waisthip and height ratio.
Also, because the data came from two surveys seven years apart, the researchers were able to assess the effect of change in ABSI on mortality. They found an increase in ABSI correlated with increased risk of death, and that the more recent ABSI measurement was a more reliable predictor. Noting this, the researchers contend that more investigation is warranted into whether lifestyle or other interventions could reduce ABSI and help people live longer.