Body Volume Index (BVI) measurement launched

Launch of BVI
BVI scan at 0,3 and 6 month

18 October 2010 

A new obesity measurement for the 21st Century, which can help identify individuals at risk of illness such as heart disease, strokes and diabetes, has been officially launched this week.

The Body Volume Index (BVI), designed by Select Research, uses a 3D white-light scanner to calculate risk factors associated with a person's body shape and type, through analysis of weight and body fat distribution.

Ian Nabney, Professor of Computer Science at Aston has led research on body composition analysis for the Body Volume Index, which is proposed as a new benchmark for healthcare and a replacement for the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is the current recognised standard for measurement of the human body for obesity, which is based solely on height and weight.

The Aston research team has analysed data from multiple sources to produce ‘norms’ for fat in clinically-relevant parts of the body, taking account of age and gender, and evaluated the effectiveness of the measurement technology.

Professor Nabney said; “The 3D BVI measure enables clinicians to understand more about the distribution of a patient’s fat levels, particularly in the abdominal region which is an important indicator of a patient’s health. This could prove a vital early warning system to help identify individuals particularly at risk of heart disease, strokes, and diabetes.”

Richard Barnes MD at Select Research said; “Most people in the world realise that carrying extra weight around the stomach means that they do have a greater health risk, commonly known in healthcare as central obesity. What BVI now offers the world is a brand new way of measuring the abdominal area which BMI simply cannot do. BMI was never meant to be used as an individual assessment for obesity and we believe that after nearly 200 years, each patient deserves to be measured in a way that takes their own body shape and lifestyle factors into account.”

Aston University has undertaken research work on the Body Volume Index as part of the Body Benchmark Study, an international project designed to develop and validate BVI. This was funded by Advantage West Midlands and the Index Voucher Scheme. The scientific work by Aston follows research undertaken for the study by Heartlands NHS Hospital in Birmingham UK, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) UK and Mayo Clinic in the US.

View footage of the BVI launch held at Aston Villa Football Club

For further media information contact Alex Earnshaw, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4549


Notes to Editors:

3D scanner details

·         The 3D Scanner involves no contact, uses safe white light technology and is completely safe involving no radiation or lasers.

·         The 3D Scanner is housed in a 7ft square upright booth where a person can stand to be measured. There are a series of 16 sensors and 32 cameras, programmed by a bank of standard PC to create a ‘virtual’ body image.  Over 200 separate linear data measurements can be extracted.

·         A person is measured in underclothes similar to their skin colour - The system is perfectly safe as no radiation is involved, the scan takes 6 seconds and the whole process takes less than 2 minutes from start to finish. The scan is saved on a secure server anonymously to be accessed by retailer and data analysts.

About Select Research:

Select Research is a Birmingham based research company who have been pioneering the use of 3D Body Scanning technology since 1997 to provide clients with more accurate information about the size and shape of the human body.  Select have managed large sizing surveys for many clients including M&S and Next, scanning more than 26,000 men, women and children over the past 10 years. This includes a survey in 1999 for M&S involving the measurement of more than 3,500 children.

Select were commissioned by 17 retailers to manage recruitment and sampling of 11,000 adults for Size UK - the first UK National Sizing Survey in 50 years in 2001, with data being used by all the major retailers including M&S, Tesco, House of Fraser, Arcadia, Debenhams, Bhs and John Lewis. This national survey led on to other national surveys in the US, Mexico and Thailand.

The first of Select's four surveys for M&S in 1998 was used as the basis for their first ever dedicated marketing campaign, centred on the results from the survey by Select that Size 16 had become the average size for an adult female.

Since January 2000, Select have been using 3D scanners to develop the Body Volume Index (BVI); a potential modern day replacement to the Body Mass Index (BMI) in measurement of obesity levels. BVI is currently being tested through a clinical research programme led by Heartlands NHS Hospital in the UK and The Mayo Clinic in the USA. Other Universities and research facilities across Europe are also involved in the three year study. See www.bodyvolume.com . Select’s work on BVI coincides with a growing awareness in recent times that body shape and weight distribution have more significance for retail and healthcare purposes than size alone.

The company also specialises in product research and qualitative research, focus group moderation and analysis for the retail and healthcare markets in particular.