Study Evaluates Amazon Halo’s Ability to Accurately Measure Percentage of Body Fat

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Ted Griggs,, 225-288-8840

Lisa Stansbury,, 225-763-2978

June 16, 2021

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana – Pennington Biomedical Research Center stepped into the consumer products evaluation arena with a study that shows the Body feature in Amazon Halo can be as accurate as the methods doctors use to measure body fat percentage.

“Body fat percentage is a better overall indicator of health and longevity than weight or body mass index alone.  BMI offers a general indication of whether a person has obesity.  Physicians use BMI because it’s fast and costs next to nothing,” said Steven Heymsfield, MD, Professor and Director, Metabolism and Body Composition Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical and co-primary investigator of the study.  “The drawback to BMI is that it can’t distinguish between fat and muscle.  Our study shows that the Body feature offers consumers an easy, accurate way to measure body composition.”

The study evaluated the body composition of 134 participants using the Body feature, consumer and professional models of smart scales, air displacement plethysmography, and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) – the clinically accepted gold standard for measuring body fat percentage.  The Body feature proved more accurate than smart scales and air displacement plethysmography and was comparable to DXA.

The Body feature enables users to measure and track body fat percentage using a smartphone camera and the Amazon Halo app. Halo members use their smartphones to take four pictures of themselves: front, back, and right and left sides.  The Body feature gives users their body fat percentage, a personalized 3D body model, and a slider tool that allows them to see how their body shape could change as their body fat percentages vary.

“At Pennington Biomedical, we’re dedicated to solving the obesity epidemic.  A tool that offers people more information about their health status could help,” said Pennington Biomedical Executive Director John Kirwan, PhD.

This work, which has been posted to the pre-print server, was supported by Amazon.

About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.  The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research, and is affiliated with Louisiana State University.  The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 450 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel.  Pennington Biomedical is located in state-of-the-art research facilities on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  For more information, see

Pennington Biomedical Research Center

6400 Perkins Road

Baton Rouge, LA 70808