New Optimist Ian Nabney on BVI and other weighty matters

New Optimist Professor Ian Nabney is a computer scientist, so not someone you’d automatically think of when it comes to medical and health issues.

He’s an expert in probability theory and machine learning. And that expertise has proved key to a radical new way of measuring the risks associated with obesity. Instead of the 200-year old BMI (body mass index) yardstick, Ian and his team have devised a Body Volume Index (BVI) which takes account of an individual’s body shape and type.

This means can now medics better identify people who are at risk of illnesses such as heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

It’s a tad more complicated to use than the shove in your weight-and-height into a calculator and see what number pops up. Finding out your BVI means being measured by a 3D white-light scanner.

But getting the results from this equipment does, as Ian says, enable a clinician to make far better judgments about the risks associated with the fat distribution around your body. It takes lots of data about, sure, your height and weight but also takes on board significant  data about your particular shape age, gender, lifestyle, etc . . . and computes it all into an assessment of your health, now and in the future.

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