Waist Circumference More Reliable Than BMI?

Waist Circumference More Reliable Than BMI?

The BMI, or body mass index

         The BMI, or body mass index, is no longer the sole authority for assessing health risks. Relying on waist circumference measurements is more important. Dr. Boris Hansel, a nutritionist and endocrinologist at Bichat, explains.

You have probably already calculated your BMI, out of curiosity or necessity. To do this, you divide your weight by your height squared. Between 18.5 and 25, the score is considered normal. Below 18.5, it indicates thinness, above 25, overweight. But BMI cannot specify where fat mass is located, and as such can be misleading. A very muscular bodybuilder will thus be able to display a BMI higher than 25, but will absolutely not be in excess of fat! Thus, waist circumference proves to be an indicator of choice in terms of health risks. It is in any case the conclusion of an English study conducted for several years by researchers at the University of the City in London.

The BMI, or body mass index-weight loss


Above a certain threshold, a high waist circumference increases the probability of suffering from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and even a few years of life expectancy. This threshold differs according to sex: it is 80 to 88 cm for a woman and 94 and 102 cm for a man (the margin may vary according to size). Waist circumference is more predictive of potential health problems," says Dr. Boris Hansel. Excess abdominal fat is toxic to the body. It coats the viscera and disrupts metabolic functioning. You also have to differentiate between subcutaneous fat, which is the bulges in the stomach that you can pinch between your fingers, and visceral fat, which is located under the abdominal muscles and results in a "hard" belly, where you can't grasp fat.


Should the calculation of BMI be abandoned in favour of measuring waist circumference? No, they are complementary," answers our specialist. When the waist circumference exceeds the reference values, it is a sign that there is probably too much abdominal fat. This makes it possible to react and take the necessary measures. But this is still a probability, which remains to be confirmed by further examinations. Just because you have belly fat does not mean that you necessarily have diabetes or cardiovascular disease". Blood pressure, fasting blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol... If two of these tests are above the norm, we can suspect an accumulation of visceral fat. The only good news is that this fat is easier to dislodge. To do this, you need to be active every day (walking, climbing stairs, etc.) and, in addition, practice a moderate-intensity endurance sports activity of at least 150 minutes a week, i.e. 30 minutes 5 times a week.



It is measured with a tape measure, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach at the end of an exhalation. Directly on the skin, take the measurement halfway between the last rib and the top of the hip bone. From 80 to 88 cm for a woman and 94 to 102 cm for a man, the critical threshold is reached. Talk to your doctor about this.
Waist Circumference More Reliable Than BMI? Waist Circumference More Reliable Than BMI? Reviewed by Ayoub Fekir on February 11, 2020 Rating: 5

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