What is BAI?

The Body Adiposity Index, better known as BAI, is a novelty when it comes to methods for measuring body fat.

It uses the measurement of the hips to perform the calculation and follows the following logic: The larger the hips relative to the waist, the more overweight one is.

Although BMI is widely used and easy to calculate, it has flaws. For example, a lean but very muscular person may have a high BMI, which, according to the calculation, will indicate that she is overweight when in reality this is not true.

Unlike body mass index (BMI), generally used as a substitute for body fat, BAI is calculated without the use of weight. It is stated that, based on population studies, BAI can be used to calculate the percentage of body fat of adult men and women from different ethnicities.

How to Calculate your BAI

To develop the body fat index, Richard Bergman from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed information from about 1,700 Americans of Mexican origin. They looked for characteristics such as gender, age, height, weight, hip circumference, or some combination of these traits that best correlated with body fat measured through the use of an x-ray technique.

The researchers found that hip circumference and height were strongly linked to body fat. Based on these characteristics, the researchers developed an equation for calculating body adiposity index:

BAI - Formula


To calculate your body fat percentage using the index, you need to measure your height in meters and your hip circumference in centimeters.

Generally, women with about 21 to 32% of body fat are in the healthy range, those with 32 to 38% are overweight, and those over 38% of body fat are obese.

Most recommendations say that men with 8 to 20% body fat are in the healthy range, those with 20 to 25% body fat are overweight, and those who have above 25% body fat are obese..

Attention with BAI

If you are under- or overweight, it is important to visit a doctor. Measures that can be calculated at home, such as BMI and BAI, show results artificially. A doctor will use more efficient tools to calculate your weight and indicate what is best for your case. After all, each person is different from the other, and methods that generalize are not always entirely correct.