Waist measurement key to CV risk assessment

Waist measurement divided by the square root of height is a better predictor of cardiovascular health than other measures, including BMI, according to researchers from the University of Wolverhampton.

The study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, looks at traditional indices including BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio and the new index as predictors of cardio-metabolic risk. In the 4700 people studied, mostly men, waist divided by the square root of height was the strongest predictor of cardio-metabolic health.

Lead researcher Professor Alan Nevill says: ‘BMI is a measure of excess weight, but it cannot differentiate between muscle weight and fat weight. Waist-to-height ratio is the best way of identifying whether someone is likely to develop heart disease.’

The study also found that cardio-metabolic risk fell significantly with increased physical activity and that being fit and active could compensate for the adverse effects of being fat.

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