Weight Loss

BMI Flaws, History, and Other Ways to Measure Body Weight and Fat

Many health professionals agree that there are many factors that should be considered when assessing health risk. Age, gender, medical history (including health behaviors such as exercise, sedentary time and nutrition), abnormal blood laboratory tests and family history are just a few of the factors.

It’s common for doctors and the general public to measure BMI, but the question, then, is this: Is there a better, more comprehensive approach to help paint a picture of your health using measurement tools? These are common measurements that can be used in conjunction with BMI.

Waist Circumference

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends that your waist measurement be under 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women.

Waist-to-Height Ratio 

You may be at greater risk of developing heart disease or diabetes if your waist-to-height ratio is higher than 0.5.

Waist-to-Hip Ratio 

The World Health Organization defines high risk as a ratio greater than 0.85 for women and greater than 0.9 for men.

Calculating your waist-to hip ratio is as easy as taking your waist circumference, dividing it by the circumference of your hips.

Body Fat Percentage 

You can measure this value using a variety methods, including skinfold analysis (BIA), bioelectrical impedance analysis, underwater weighing (hydrostatic), dual energy X-ray absorptiometry(DXA) and isotope dilution.

Skinfold and BIA values are easy to obtain but may be inaccurate. Meanwhile, hydrostatic and DXA are more accurate, but they can be costly, and the tools used to determine these values are less prevalent in clinical settings.

According to Harvard, isotope diluting is generally cheap and accurate.

Larson prefers to measure the waist circumference and hip ratio when screening for health risks. “I think the best way to increase BMI accuracy is to add waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio to the mix,” she says.

Source: everydayhealth

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