Waist Hip Ratio Better Than BMI

By Jeff Quinn

Waist Hip Ratio Better Than BMI

For many years, the medical establishment has considered Body Mass Index (BMI) to be a key indicator of heart disease. Physical checkups often result in a doctor providing the patient with a BMI percentage and assessing whether the patient was in the at-risk category. But the limitations of BMI has long been recognized because it does not factor in where on the body the person's fat lies - or whether the body mass constitutes fat or muscle. With BMI, a lean, heavily muscled athlete could have the same percentage as an out of shape couch potato. This is why more professionals use waist/hip ratio as a more effective, but just as simple, measurement for obesity.

Excess fat in the abdominal region poses a greater health risk than excess fat in the hips and thighs and is associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, early onset of heart disease, and certain types of cancers. People with "apple-shaped" bodies (with more weight around the waist) face more health risks than those with "pear-shaped" bodies who carry more weight around the hips.

To determine if you have a healthy waist to hip ratio, use a stretch resistant tape to measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of your buttocks. Then measure your waist at the smaller circumference of your natural waist, usually just above the belly button. To calculate the ratio, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. A healthy waist hip ratio for women is 0.8 or lower. A healthy ratio for men is 1.0 or lower.

"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." ~ La Rochefoucauld


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