What is the Body Volume Index?

  • BVI is the new BMI
  • It was invented in 2000 by Select Research UK as a highly accurate electronic measurement for obesity
  • BVI uses 3D body scanners (like the scanners at the airport) to accurately measure the whole body producing a virtual 3D image in seconds

  • The BVI scanner is a 7ft square booth which uses 16 sensors and 32 cameras to extract part volumes and hundreds of linear data measurements
  • BVI takes into account weight, height, shape, age, sex and medical history to more accurately measure risk to health
  • BVI is able to distinguish where weight is distributed across the body e.g. chest, abdomen, pelvis and thighs
  • The BVI system will also compare people to the average BVI mean for people in the same age and gender
  • The scanner can also calculate BMI, waist to hip and waist circumference in addition to BVI
  • Used over a period of time BVI is a precise guide in tracking weight gain or weight loss of patients for medical professionals

And what does all of that mean?

It means that BVI is a marketing tool used to sell BVI scanners to doctors around the world.

It means that instead of your doctor/personal trainer/friend/spouse using a 99¢ cloth tape measure to accurately determine your various circumferences, you can pay larger healthcare bills.

It means that instead of looking into your mirror, you can pay for a 3D image of your overweight torso.

It means that instead of your doctor measuring your body-fat percentage, blood pressure, heart rate reserve, markers of inflammation, etc…you can pay for a largely irrelevant, but kinda cool snapshot.


I can see the potential value of those airport scanners.  Just like in that classic film noir, Total Recall, x-ray body scanners can be very helpful in keeping bad guys from sneaking ray guns onto spaceships bound for Mars.

Unfortunately…. the BVI & the accompanying BVI scanners are a ridiculously expensive replacement for a cloth tape measure and your bathroom mirror.