Your doctor usually consults the body-mass index (BMI) charts in determining if your height-to- weight ratio indicates if you’re overweight. But rising opinions on its unreliability led a recently released study to conclude that a waist-to-hip ratio may be a better measurement for health.
Published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, the UK and Australia based researchers found that waist-to-hip ratio was a ‘better predictor’ if people would die over the course of the 10-year study.
Researchers took data of 42, 702 men and women living in England and Scotland and monitored whether those who carried extra weight in their middles despite having relatively normal BMIs were at an increased risk for health problems, compared to those who were considered overweight but carried the majority of their pounds elsewhere.
They found that 5, 355 participants died, and after factors like age, gender, smoking habits, and their amount of physical activity were considered; deduced that majority of those who passed away had normal BMIs but had a high percentage of ‘central obesity’, or a high waist-to- hip ratio.
Those with a high central obesity were at 22% increased risk of death from all causes, compared to people with normal BMIs and a smaller waist-to-hip ratio.
Of course, people considered obese in their BMI and with high central chub were at a greater risk for death, but people who were considered obese in their BMI yet had smaller waist-to-hip ratios were less likely to be candidates for health problems.
While this was not the only study conducted on the topic, it was so far the largest conducted in recent time.
A 2015 study initially found that people with normal BMIs but high central obesity had the worst survival rates, even when compared to BMI- overweight and obese people with central obesity.
Authors couldn’t put it down to one factor as to why that was, but theorized that people belonging to the latter category also had more fat stored in their legs and hips, which is linked to better metabolism.
But authors of the study noted that this wasn’t a move to ditch BMI entirely in checkups, but rather add the waist-to-hip ratio examination in routine checkups.