Waist-to-Hip Ratio Best Measure of Obesity-Related Heart Attack Risk
It is no secret that
A new study in the November 5, 2005 issue of the
compared the relationship between BMI and waist-to-hip ratio and the risk for
About the Study
This study included 27,098 participants in Asia, Europe, the middle east, Africa, Australia, North America, and South America. About half of the participants (the “cases”) had experienced a heart attack, and the other half (the “controls”) were matched to the cases according to similar age and sex. Researchers measured each participant’s weight, height, and waist and hip circumferences.
After controlling for waist-to-hip ratio and other factors that affect heart attack risk (e.g., smoking,
How Does This Affect You?
Currently, many health professionals and researchers use BMI to assess cardiovascular risk, but these findings suggest that waist-to-hip ratio is a more accurate measure for assessing heart attack risk. The researchers estimate that by using BMI instead of waist-to-hip ratio, the risk of heart attack is underestimated by approximately three-fold. While some people may fall into the “ideal” BMI range, their waist-to-hip ratios may indicate that they are at increased risk for heart disease.
To reduce your waist-to-hip ratio, it is important to both decrease abdominal fat by losing weight and to maintain muscle mass through strengthening exercises. People who have more muscle mass tend to have larger hip circumferences, and thus lower waist-to-hip ratios.
American Heart Association
American Obesity Association
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
University of Maryland Medicine
Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator
Yusuf S, Hawken S, Ounpuu S, et al. Obesity and the risk of myocardial infarction in 27 000 participants from 52 countries: a case-control study. Lancet . 2005;366:1640-1649.
Kragelund C, Omland T. A farewell to body-mass index? Lancet . 2005;366:1589-1591.
Last reviewed Nov 11, 2005 by
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