Size Matters…especially when it’s your waistline. Here’s how to tell if you have too much belly fat.
Forget BMI, researchers say that the waist-to-height ratio is the best predictor of whether of not your body weight –and body fat– is healthy or not.
The research, published in the latest edition of PLOS ONE, studied 81 subjects and set out to find the most accurate way to measure body fat in the absence of underwater weighing, DEXA scans, or other pricey techniques available only at medical institutions.
The researchers compared various ways to measure body fat, like BMI (body mass index) or waist-to-hip ration or waist-to-height ration. They compared these non-invasive tests to dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanner – considered the gold-standard for measuring body composition.
Results? Waist-to-height ratio was more accurate at detecting excess fat compared to BMI, waist circumference or waist-to-hip measurements. What’s more, waist circumference, since it ups one’s risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, other metabolic abnormalities and risk of dying from any cause. Relying on a measurement like BMI, which does not take into consideration waist circumference, may underestimate one’s risk factors.
What’s a healthy waist-to-height ratio?
A waist-to-height ratio more than 0.5 is critical and signifies an increased risk for heart disease and other clinical conditions. (For those aged between 40 and 50 years-old, the critical value is between 0.5 and 0.6, and for people over 50 the critical values start at 0.6.
For a simple graphic that calculates our risk, use this waist-to-height calculator.
Here’s why larger waistlines equal lower lifespans.