Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why waist to hip ratio is a better indicator than body mass index?

Body mass index (BMI) is a simple way to measure body fat using your height and weight as a basis for the calculation. BMI measurements have long been considered the standard indicator to determine if someone is overweight.BMI works best when used to study a large segment of the population.

BMI Classification

Below 18.5 Underweight

18.5 - 24.9 Normal weight

25.0 - 29.9 Overweight

30.0 and above Obese

But it has so many disadvantages.BMI does not differentiate between muscle and fat and will therefore underestimate in some and overestimate for others. For the same reason BMI can give a false result for body builders and other athletes with a muscular build. These people have extra weight due to the large amounts of muscle mass on their bodies. It can underestimate the results for elderly people because older people have lost so much muscle mass.

Waist to hip ratio is the ratio of the circumference of the waist and the circumference of the hips to measure body fat. This method is considered a better measurement because it considers the amount of belly fat. It serves as a better indicator of cardiac status than BMI..Waist-to-hip ratio shows a graded and highly significant association with myocardial infarction risk worldwide.

· Waist circumference: It is measured by putting an unstretched tape measure around the narrowest level of your waist

· Hip circumference: It is measured by putting a tape around the widest part of your hip area over minimal clothing.

Waist - hip ratio -For females the normal WHR is about 0.80, while for men it is 0.95


Waist-to-hip ratio, body mass index, and subsequent kidney disease and death.

Waist-to-hip ratio versus BMI as predictors of cardiac risk in obese adult women

Waist-to-Hip Ratio vs BMI may Be More Accurate Predictor of CV Risk

Research shows that “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 hip. Waist-to-hip ratio Calculator

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