Body mass index (BMI) is “out” and waist-to-height ratio is “in”, at least according to new research presented at an obesity conference in France.
BMI – The Current Standard
There are many health risks associated with being overweight and BMI has traditionally been used as a health screening tool. Using a simple conversion formula, BMI can evaluate your health based on your current height and weight.
While BMI is a quick and easy way to evaluate health risks based on weight, BMI does not take age, gender or muscle mass into account – making it an ineffective screening tool for a certain patients. BMI also does not take into account the distribution of fat around the body.
Excess abdominal fat in particular, can adversely affect the heart, liver and kidneys, leading some researchers to believe that waist-to-height ration is a better health screening tool than BMI.
Research Points to Waist-to-Height Ratio
After analyzing the health of 300,000 patients, study leader, Dr. Margaret Ashwell, found waist-to-height ratio to be a better indicator of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes, in comparison to BMI.
“Keeping your waist circumference to less than half your height can help increase life expectancy for every person in the world,” said Ashwell, as reported in the Telegraph.
According to the World Health Organization, in order to gain an accurate waist measurement, you should measure half way between the lower rib and the iliac crest (the top of the pelvic bone).
Reducing Your Waist-to-Height Ratio
For most people, a healthy diet and exercise program can significantly reduce waist circumference. However, in some cases stubborn fat deposits cannot be removed through normal means.
Many patients elect liposuction or tummy tuck procedures to eliminate unwanted abdominal fat. It is important to note that liposuction and tummy tuck procedures are not recommended for significantly overweight patients.
Learn more about liposuction and tummy tuck procedures in New Haven.