Introduction: The obesity epidemic is growing at an alarming rate. The body volume index (BVI) scanner is a novel machine that produces a true scale 3D body image of the whole body within 6 s and may have a role in the management of obesity.
Method: In a pilot study, we set out to assess the impact of BVI scanning on weight loss during a standard weight loss programme in overweight subjects. Forty-three subjects were given standard dietary and lifestyle advice and asked to commence a 600 kcal deficit diet for 6 months. Patients were reviewed at 0, 3 and 6 months and had BMI, waist circumference and hip circumference determined. 20/43 patients were randomised to have a BVI scan at each time point, the results of which were discussed during the hospital visits.
Results: Mean BMI decreased significantly in subjects undergoing 3D scanning (baseline: 30.1±0.46, 3 months: 29.2±2.18, 6 months: 29.2±2.64, P=0.012) and in those given dietary advice only (baseline: 31.2±2.33, 3 months: 30.15±2.67, 6 months: 30.3±2.88, P=0.001). Similarly mean waist circumference diminished in those who had 3D body imaging (baseline: 96.5±2.32, 3 months: 92.8±2.37, 6 months: 92.1±2.79, P=0.006) and in those who did not (baseline: 102.1±2.06, 3 months: 98.2±2.06, 6 months: 98.1±2.25, P<0.001). Mean hip circumference also decreased at 3 and at 6 months in the scanned (baseline: 110.2±1.58, 3 months: 108.9±1.57, 6 months: 108.22±1.7, P<0.001) and non-scanned group (baseline: 112.5±1.08, 3 months: 109.8±1.58, 6 months: 109.2±1.36, P<0.001). Two way ANOVA analysis indicated that 3D scanning significantly contributed to reductions in BMI (P=0.02) and waist circumference (P=0.005) but not to the decrease in hip circumference.
Conclusion: 3D body/BVI scans may be a useful tool not only to aid weight loss, but also to track changes occurring long term. Further studies are required to confirm the findings of our pilot study and determine possible uses for BVI scans in tackling obesity.