I’m not going to start with telling you how obesity is one of our biggest health issues today and all the bad things that are associated with it. You know that already. So let’s go straight to my point. How do we usually determine whether someone is obese or not? Usually it is a combination of waist circumference and Body Mass Index, or the less formal BMI. Let’s take a look at this measurement. Most people know that it’s something with your weight and your height and then you do math to it and BOOM, you get the magic number. But what it is really? The BMI formula looks like this:
This then comes out as an index and depending on what range it falls into you can be everything from underweight to obese. Now, what is this index really a measurement of? It is your weight in kilograms divided by your length as square meters. I myself have never met anyone who measures themselves in square meters, that is usually for apartments and the like. To illustrate this further I have drawn you a picture of myself (I know I can’t draw, that is supposed to make it funnier). So to get this index we’re pretending that I am not actually a person with a volume, but rather I am a surface!
And then we divide how much I weigh with the size of that surface! It doesn’t take a mathematician to understand how this easily becomes very flawed. Besides that it pretends that you’re a surface it doesn’t take into account what causes the weight, is it muscle or fat? And if it is fat, how much is there and where is it located? As I wrote in my previous post, it makes quite a different where the fat is stored. Ten men with the exactly the same BMI can be in very different risk groups because of this fact. So what would be an alternative? How would we differentiate between these ten?
AMRA is developing the Body Composition Profile (BCP) which is acquired by transforming MR images into precise fat and muscle volume measurements.
In September AMRA also entered into a collaboration with Pfizer which is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. The objective of the collaboration is improve the understanding of the relationship between body composition and risk for obesity related diseases, as well as a broader understanding of conditions linked to body composition.
Perhaps in the future we will not call it obesity, we will say that someone has a risk-related body composition.