In addition to the body mass index, the waist to height ratio is another means by which health care professionals estimate an individual’s body composition in order to evaluate his overall health.
Although the body mass index (BMI) is generally more well known than the waist to height ratio for measuring body composition, many physicians believe this ratio to be the better of the two.
This superiority is due to the fact that BMI can be skewed by an individual’s frame or quantity of muscle mass.
For example, a man with a significant amount of muscle mass may be indexed as overweight or obese by the body mass index even though he has a low level of body fat.
In fact, the European Congress on Obesity recently stated that this ratio is the best way to predict a person’s risk of serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Unlike BMI, the ratio of waist to height is based on waist size, which is the most dangerous place to carry weight (abdominal fat).
Specifically, abdominal fat induces insulin resistance with impaired glucose tolerance, leading eventually to diabetes, atherosclerosis, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Additionally, the waist to height ratio takes into account an individual’s frame so a sizeable amount of muscle mass will not skew the results.
How to Determine Your Ratio
First, measure your waist size in inches with a tape measure at the belly button. Do not measure your waist where your pants sit because this is often smaller than your waist at the belly button.
It is important to actually measure your waist size and not rely on your pant size because many clothing manufactures actually make their sizes larger than they state on the label to avoid offending customer. Then, divide you waist measurement in inches by your height in inches and multiply by 100.
The following list provides the descriptions of the results:
Any ratio below 35% is underweight. Any ratio between 35 and 43% is healthy (slim). Any ratio between 43 and 53% is healthy.
Any ratio between 53 and 58% is overweight. Any ratio between 58 and 63% is seriously overweight, and ratio above 63% is morbidly obese.
Consult your physician or weight loss specialist if you fall into the seriously overweight or obese categories. A combination of exercise and healthy eating work best to combat weight gain.