Paper 10.147

R. Barnes, "The Body Volume Index (BVI): Using 3D Scanners to Measure and Predict Obesity", in Proc. of 1st Int. Conf. on 3D Body Scanning Technologies, Lugano, Switzerland, 2010, pp. 147-157,


The Body Volume Index (BVI): Using 3D Scanners to Measure and Predict Obesity


Richard BARNES

Select Research Ltd., Birmingham, UK


Select Research is the leading company in the UK for the management of large-scale sizing surveys in the retail field, having recruited and scanned over 26,000 men, women and children for major UK retailers since 1997. This has included direct involvement in management of both 'national' sizing surveys in the UK for the retail industry.
Select were commissioned by UK retailers in 2001 to manage the recruitment and sampling for Size UK - the National Adult Survey as we had recruited and managed five sizing surveys for M&S and Next before that. As a result of our experience, we were commissioned in 2008 by the retailers again to undertake the National Childrenswear Survey for them. This project is called Shape GB - in recognition of the importance of body shape and to represent the geographical area of the representative sample.
However, in parallel to our extensive work in retail and in a totally different field, since the start of the millennium Select have been pioneering the use of 3D scanning technology in healthcare and specifically for the measurement of obesity with a new measurement; the Body Volume Index (BVI). The idea for BVI was originally conceived in January 2000, but development was delayed until we had completed our commitments to M&S on their Bra Survey and the seventeen retailers on Size UK who commissioned us to help on that project in early 2001.
At that time, we recognised that the use of imaging such as MRI and DEXA have permeated healthcare and provide unparrelled data and insight into the condition of a patient, using leading edge technology to assist in the management of healthcare and patient care.
However, in contrast, risk assessment and measurement of obesity relied almost entirely on a manual measurement, the Body Mass Index (BMI), devised in 1830 as a broad based public health measurement tool. Measuring risk based only on height and weight, with no allowance for differences in gender, age or ethnicity, the use of manual techniques and the accuracy of BMI as a risk indicator has since been called into question. Now, in the 21st century, should we really still be so reliant on manual measurement for designation and evaluation of health risk?
Technology in healthcare is increasingly being used in measurement of an individual. However, in the initial stages of risk assessment for certain conditions such as obesity, healthcare professionals continue to remain reliant almost exclusively upon manual measurements. This is particularly true for obesity where manual measurements of waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and Body Mass Index (BMI) are currently used for assessment and diagnosis. However, recent published data have instigated a steady sea of change of opinion in the medical profession on the usefulness of BMI and prompted debate that a long-term replacement of BMI for the diagnosis of and health risk associated with obesity is necessary.


Full paper: 10.147.pdf
Proceedings: 3DBST 2010, 19-20 Oct. 2010, Lugano, Switzerland
Pages: 147-157

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