BMI vs waist-to-hip ratio
Which one is a better measure of obesity?
For the longest time,
BMI or body mass index has been the standard measure of obesity. Not just doctors but even average people have been using this metric to assess their health and act on it to achieve a healthy BMI. But a new study published in The Lancet says that relying on BMI alone may actually give misleading information.
According to this study, waist-to-hip ratio is a better
obesity measure for assessing a person's risk of heart attack
Beach Heart Program). If obesity is redefined using waist-to-hip ratio instead of BMI, the researchers argue, the proportion of people at risk of heart attack increases threefold. Heart-attack patients had a strikingly higher waist-to-hip ratio than people in a control group, irrespective of other cardiovascular risk factors.
How to measure your waist to hip ratio?
While calculating your BMI is so complicated that you actually need a
calculator for it, coming up with your waist-to-hip ratio is simple. Just divide your waist size (in whatever units) with your hip size. For women, the healthiest ratio is 0.85 or under and for men, it is 0.9.
Why is this ratio better than BMI?
The BMI treats the whole body as if accumulation of fat in all parts of the body poses equal risk. However, other studies have shown that when fat accumulates disproportionately in the waist region, it does more
damage to your health. For instance, people with bigger tummies also tend to suffer more often from diabetes.
How to improve your waist to hip ratio?
Apart from dieting (that focuses on
elimination of carbs and
fats), exercise is key to reducing your waist. When diet and exercise have done their job, an option is a
tummy tuck and/or
liposuction. In extreme cases,
gastric bypass surgery may be needed.
to lose weight and reduce waist size?