Transcript: Waist Circumference Less Than Half Your Height
Body mass index is a better predictor of disease than body weight, since it takes height into account. But, it doesn’t say what or where that mass is.
Bodybuilders can have huge BMIs, especially since muscle is heavier than fat. It doesn’t mean they’re obese.
It’s now accepted that health risks can be determined as much by the relative distribution of the excess fat, as by its total amount. It’s not so much body fat, but visceral body fat, abdominal fat, the fat around our internal organs, that most increases our risk of dying prematurely.
All these women have the exact same BMI, but it’s the people with this so-called apple shape that tend to live the shortest. Now, waist circumference takes care of both the what and where of the weight, but can also be affected by height. Enter the waist-to-height ratio. Move over BMI; now we have WHR.
“A systematic review of waist-to-height ratio as a screening tool for the prediction of cardiovascular disease and diabetes” was recently published—the first of its kind, concluding WHR was superior, and the cut-off should be one to two, “supporting the simple public health message: keep your waist circumference to less than half your height.”
It’s cheaper, more convenient (no scale required), and most importantly, more sensitive, as an early warning sign of health risks to come.
You just take a cloth measuring tape, and measure halfway between the top of your hip bones, and the bottom of your ribcage. Stand up straight, but breathe deep; exhale, let it all hang out, and that measurement should be half your height.
And, if it’s not, we should cut down on our consumption of meat, as we just went over, but also our consumption of refined plant foods—whereas at least three servings a day of whole grains was recently associated with a slimmer waist in the Framingham Heart Study.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.
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