Obesity is on the rise in the global population. It becomes a major public health issue across several countries. This non-communicable disease has a high-risk factor and leads to various other health complexities that affect millions’ lives worldwide.
Obesity is the increase and abnormal circulation of fat in the body, causing elevated risks of diseases. It is associated with morbidities such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, kidney diseases, cancers, and musculoskeletal disorders.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 39% of adults worldwide aged 18 and above, totaling around 1.9 billion, were deemed to be overweight. Globally, about 2.8 million people die yearly of overweight-related and obesity-related diseases. Obesity accounts for 31.8% of direct healthcare expenses, 68.1% of indirect costs due to decreased or wasted productivity, and the payment of medical care for obese people is 32% higher than that of people amidst a healthy weight.
The most widely used measure to detect and monitor obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI). Measuring involves using a stadiometer, weighing scale, calculator, or merely a purpose-built and expensive BMI machine.
These instruments may not be available or be scarce in underprivileged areas. So the core question that this research tries to address is: “Can an ordinary sewing tape measure be utilized to measure Body Mass Index?”
Though the calculation process is simple, such instruments are scarce among health professionals in underprivileged and developing nations. And thus, this research by researchers Idris Muhammad Yakubu and Philip L. Bigelow aims to create a regression equation for calculating BMI from waist circumference and hip circumference.
The study utilized a secondary dataset consisting of 3013 participants of a survey of bank workers across the 36 states of Nigeria and Abuja. This formula is a likely ingenious public health tool for measuring body mass in disadvantaged societies using an everyday tailoring tape.
This formula is a potential handy public health tool for measuring body mass in disadvantaged communities using an ordinary tailoring tape. Further studies should be conducted to improve the formula.
The study achieves its objective of developing a regression formula for determining BMI using a simple measuring tape. Besides, it also opens up opportunities for future studies on the subject by using various other sampling techniques. The addition of anthropometric measures of adiposity and refinement by incorporating age and sex demographic into the regression equation further improve the study.
Overall, this study sheds light on a substantial possibility of an alternative and cheaper methodology to develop a BMI measuring technique for the world’s underprivileged population.